The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced that five of its recreation trails have been designated national recreation trails by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The five are among 54 trails nationwide designated this year as new national recreation trails, and will join the national network of more than 1,150 previously designated trails that encompass more than 13,650 miles of existing trails and trail systems.
The national recreation trail designation recognizes those trails that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. The first national trails were established in the early 1970s.
The following five USACE trails have been designated as 2012 national recreation trails:
Bartram Trail at J. Strom Thurmond Lake, Clarks Hill, S.C. J. Strom Thurmond Lake is the largest USACE project constructed east of the Mississippi River. The natural beauty of the area along the shore is still intact and is enjoyed by mountain bikers, hikers and runners who explore the pine-carpeted 27-mile Bartram Trail. This trail includes 6.5 “Gateway” miles for young riders and new cyclists, an advanced 9-mile portion of fast single track challenges, and nearly 8 miles of more technical obstacles.
Carlyle Lake Multi-Use Trail at Carlyle Lake, Carlyle, Ill. The Carlyle Lake trail is a successful partnership between the city of Carlyle and USACE. This 10.3-mile multi-use trail system connects the city of Carlyle to Carlyle Lake and passes through numerous recreation areas and diverse, scenic wildlife habitat ranging from lake, forest, agricultural fields, restored prairie and wetland areas. Visitors also pass along historical and interpretive points of interest including the Carlyle Lake Dam, the General Dean Suspension Bridge (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and the Goshen Trail.
Veterans Trail at Coralville Lake, Iowa City, Iowa The Veterans Trail at the Coralville Lake Project is a quarter-mile, barrier-free trail. Individuals of all abilities can view the flora and fauna or experience quiet reflection as the trail meanders among mature oak, hickory, and maple trees. Memorials and monuments collectively honor Johnson County veterans from the Civil War to present conflicts. Features dedicated to individual veterans include a bird observation area, a flower garden, rest areas, and a bridge.
Overmountain Victory Trail at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, Wilkesboro, N.C. Overmountain Victory Trail is a 13-mile trail that contains lake views, dips deep into the woods, and traverses steep hillsides with mature hardwoods and boulder outcroppings. The trail follows the general route used by patriots from the area in 1780 and is part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The trail is managed for multiple-use to include hiking, running, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, environmental education, fishing and hunting.
Bennington Lake Trail System at Bennington Lake, Walla Walla, Wash. Bennington Lake Trail System encompasses some 20 miles of trails and offers different levels of difficulty for walking, running, biking, swimming or practicing for a backpacking trip. Scenic views of the lake, Blue Mountains, and the fertile fields of the Walla Walla Valley unfold on the trails around Bennington Lake and along Mill Creek. The trail system hosts many special events throughout the year.
Each of the new trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from the Secretary of the Interior and national recreation trail markers.
This year’s designation of 54 new national trails adds almost 1,400 miles of trails to the National Trails System. These land and water trails will continue to connect people with nature and the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle, a core principle behind President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiatives.
The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website at http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
As the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, USACE’s more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states provide more than 7,300 miles of diverse land and water trail systems. USACE officials credit the support of local public and private organizations and the thousands of volunteers annually in helping to make these trails available for public use.
For more information on USACE land and water trails and the many other recreation opportunities available at USACE sites, please visit www.CorpsLakes.us.