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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2010
CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2898
   

DEP Announces National Recreation Trail Designations for Three Florida Trails

-Blackwater Heritage State Trail, Nature Coast State Trail and the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail recognized for local and regional significance-

TALLAHASSEE - The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Greenways & Trails is proud to announce National Recreation Trail (NRT) designations for the Blackwater Heritage State Trail, the Nature Coast State Trail and the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail. These three State Trails, managed by the DEP Office of Greenways & Trails, join an elite list of more than 1,000 trails across the United States that are deemed exemplary for their local and regional significance based on criteria established by the National Recreation Trails program.

“We welcome this national recognition for three outstanding Florida trails that are not only vital recreational resources for Florida’s citizens and visitors but they also help boost the tourism that is so important to the state,” said Jena Brooks, Director of the DEP Office of Greenways & Trails. “In 2009, these state trails, together with Florida’s other official state trails and the Cross Florida Greenway, experienced the highest annual visitation ever with a total of over 4 million statewide visitors, generating an estimated $95 million of economic impact.”

In announcing the 2010 NRT designations, U. S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “We are very proud of these trails and the spirit of partnerships and resource conservation that they represent. Trails provide millions of Americans with healthy recreational experiences and often their first encounters with the natural world.” National Recreation Trails are components of the National Trails System and recognize existing trails that connect people to recreational resources and improve their quality of life.

The Blackwater Heritage State Trail in Milton is a 8-mile rail-trail which connects to the 1.5-mile Military Heritage Trail managed by the Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The Trail features several creek crossings and an abundance of native wildflowers for a pleasant tour of the Northwest Florida countryside. The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail was Florida’s first state rail-trail and provides a 16-mile path that runs from south of the Capital City through Wakulla County to the coastal community of St. Marks. The 32-mile, paved Nature Coast State Trail follows a peaceful, rural route that connects Cross City, Trenton and Chiefland and features an historic railroad trestle bridge that crosses the Suwannee River near Old Town.

The 2010 NRT trails will be officially recognized in conjunction with National Trails Day,® which is sponsored by the American Hiking Society, on June 5, 2010. The DEP Office of Greenways & Trails will join with the Florida Trail Association in hosting a National Trails Day® celebration to be held at the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail on June 5 at the Wakulla Station Trailhead. In addition to announcing the NRT designations for these Florida Trails, the Florida Trail’s newest Gateway Communities of the cities of Sopchoppy and St. Marks and Wakulla County will be recognized. The event is designed to highlight the many trails and outdoor recreation opportunities available in Wakulla County and the Big Bend region.

Florida has been named by American Trails as “Best Trails State in America,” recognizing the efforts of DEP’s Office of Greenways & Trails (OGT) and its many partners for their coordinated efforts to establish Florida’s statewide system of trails. OGT provides community assistance, trail acquisition and development funding, and public outreach to expand the statewide system of greenways and trails. OGT also manages eight state trails and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. The Greenway is Florida’s longest green corridor, stretching 110 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico near Inglis. Of the eight state trails, six are rail-trails, which are railroad corridors converted to recreational trails for hiking, biking, skating, equestrian activities and alternative transportation.

To learn more about Florida trails, visit FloridaGreenwaysandTrails.com.

trail

"We welcome this national recognition for three outstanding Florida trails that are not only vital recreational resources for Florida’s citizens and visitors but they also help boost the tourism that is so important to the state."

Jena Brooks
Director of the DEP Office of Greenways & Trails

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Last updated: June 04, 2010

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