Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New National Hiking Trail for N.C.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced designation of 31 new National Hiking Trails, including the Highlands Plateau Greenway in Western North Carolina.

Good. Up in Highlands, it's not likely that BP will be drilling a mile-deep well to blow up and contaminate the new trail.

Salazar's announcement adds some 716 miles to the National Trails System. In a news release, Salazar said, "From coast to coast, the National Trails System helps connect American families with the wonders of the great outdoors. These new national recreation trails, built through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, will create new opportunities for fitness and stewardship while creating a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren."

Here's how the Interior Department describes the Highlands Plateau Greenway:

"Highlands Plateau Greenway

The Highlands Plateau Greenway is located in Highlands, North Carolina, the highest incorporated town east of the Mississippi. The 5-mile network of continuous walking trails connects natural areas and historic sites for educational and recreational opportunities. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide in a temperate rainforest, the area boasts the highest floral and faunal diversity in North America. Because of this unique environment, landscaping along the trail with plants native to the southern mountains is a major focus."

Another small bit of good news: To commemorate the addition of the new trails, the department will waive fees to enter national parks on the weekend of June 5-6 "to help encourage people of all ages to get outside and use trails for exercise and exploration. In addition, hundreds of organized activities including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications will take place. A listing of activities is available at http://www.americanhiking.org/Get-Involved/National-Trails-Day/."

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