New National Trail Celebrates Apalchicola River - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

New National Trail Celebrates Apalchicola River

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Secretary Jewell, National Park Service Director Jarvis Announce a New National Recreation Trail in Florida
Part of National Designation Adding 452 Miles to National Trail System in Recognition of National Trails Day on Saturday

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the recognition of a new national recreation trail in Florida, part of 21 trails recognized nationwide in 11 states in celebration of National Trails Day on June 7. 

“I can think of no better way to celebrate National Trails Day than to support the efforts of local communities by formally recognizing these exceptional trails as national recreation trails,” Jewell said. “In Florida and across the country they provide easily accessible places to get exercise and connect with nature in both urban and  rural areas, and promote our goal of encouraging Americans, especially youth, to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.”

The trail designated in Florida is:

Apalachicola River Blueway
This water trail stretches 106 miles from the dam in Chattahoochee to Apalachicola Bay.  The Apalachicola River flows through one of the nation’s richest hotspots of biodiversity and is bordered by large tracts of pristine, undeveloped land, which are home to many threatened and rare species of plants and animals.  The river flows through the heart of Old Florida, a tapestry of wild landscapes and vanishing cultures.  It is a rare gem in the Florida Panhandle.

Today’s announcement comes in advance of National Trails Day on Saturday. The day features hundreds of organized activities including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications all around the country.A listing of activities is available on the American Hiking Society's webpage.

“The National Trails System connects Americans with federal, state and local lands and nationwide,” Jarvis said. “As we celebrate National Trails Day, this network of more than 16,000 miles continues to grow and offer new opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors.”

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.  Communities and other partners supporting the establishment of the new national recreation trails receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell, and a set of national recreation trail markers.

Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture have the authority to approve designations in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization.

The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website.

The above was released Friday by the U.S. Department of Interior.