Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke designated 19 new National Recreation Trails in 17 states this week, adding a total of 370 miles to the current 1,000 trails system, which is spread across all 50 US states.
“Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country,” said Zinke in a press release.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and National Trails Day, the American Hiking Society is hosting hikes, bike rides, and other events across the country tomorrow, Saturday, June 2.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, I hope everyone will take advantage of a nearby national trail to hike or bike,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith.
The National Trails Act of 1968 was passed to inspire Americans to recreate, be healthy, and to preserve and create a strategy and management system for trails across the country. National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails became classifications as part of the Act, but had a minimum or maximum length to receive the classification. National Recreation Trails have no length requirement.
National Recreation Trails can only be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. New trails are typically designated by the Secretary of the Interior every year ahead of National Trails Day.
The program is a joint effort between the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as non-profit and Federal organizations.
2018 National Recreation MTB trails
Among the recently designated National Recreation Trails, the following trails stand out for offering a singletrack experience to mountain bikers.
Mt. Umunhum Trail
The Mt. Umunhum Trail is a 3.7 mile trail, consisting of moderate terrain. All but the final 0.2 miles to the summit is open to mountain bikes.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Trail System
Outside of Jacksonville, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park offers a total of 20 miles of trail open to hikers and bikers. Trails vary from smooth hardpack to loose sand. The trails have some moderate technical features throughout the network.
Iron Ore Heritage Trail
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Michigan is a 47-mile trail located in Marquette, MI, which sits in the state’s Upper Peninsula. While the trail surface consists mostly of asphalt and crushed limestone, the trail is notable as a part of the epic Marji Gesick 100-mile mountain bike race held each year.
Bays Mountain Park Trail System
Bays Mountain in Tennessee offers plenty of trail for mountain bikes to explore. Most of the trails are moderate in difficulty, but there are a few green and black diamond rated trails also.
Wright’s Mountain Trails
Mountain biking is allowed on some of the trails on Wright’s Mountain, but not all.
Each trail will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers, and a letter of congratulations recognition from Secretary Zinke. For more information and a complete list of the 2018 NRTs, read the Department of the Interior’s press release.
Which trails will you be out riding — or maintaining — on National Trails Day? Let us know in the comments.