WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the designation of six local and state National Recreation Trails, adding more than 350 miles to the National Trails System, and three National Water Trails, adding more than 600 miles to the National Water Trails System.
Locally the Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail was added as a National Water Trail. The Great Miami Watershed Trail is located in southwest Ohio and includes 291 miles of paddling, fishing, and wildlife watching opportunities on three beautiful rivers and many smaller tributaries. The major rivers include the Great Miami, Stillwater, and Mad Rivers, all of which are Ohio-designated State water trails. The trail offers a range of opportunities for human-powered and motorized boating.
The Great Miami, Mad, and Stillwater river system is the first and only national water trail system in Ohio and one of just 22 in the US. The designation also includes the Buck, Greenville, and Twin creeks.
“By designating these new National Trails, we recognize the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Jewell. “Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country.”
On June 4, hundreds of organized activities were held as part of National Trails Day, including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications. A list of activities is available on the American Hiking Society’s website.
“The network of national recreation and water trails offers expansive opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors,” said Jarvis. “With summer here, I hope everyone will take advantage of a trail nearby to hike, paddle or bike. It’s a great family outing and an opportunity to fill your lungs with fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.”
National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the Nation. Each of the newly designated trails will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers and a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell.
While national scenic trails and national historic trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, national recreation trails (including national water trails) may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture in response to an application from the trail’s managing agency or organization.
The National Recreation Trails program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of Federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.