Every year hundreds of projects across the country use Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding to complete new projects and improve existing infrastructure. These are two recent highlights of how those funds are being used on the ground.
The Smith Mountain Fire Tower And Trails outside of Dadeville, Alabama installed new educational exhibits in the spring of 2019 thanks in part to Recreational Trail Program funds, distributed through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
Even before their official dedication this November the new displays have garnered attention. The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) is the organization behind these new displays. CRATA president Jerry Bynum has noted that those who have seen the displays have highly regarded them, and CRATA is now being invited to conferences to speak about them.
The large educational displays provide visitors with a wealth of information on a variety of subjects, including the natural history and geology of the area, as well as the current wildlife and flora found in the area. By using less text alongside plenty of photographs and graphics the displays are able to be extremely visually stimulating to visitors.
In St. Albans, West Virginia the city recently rededicated their City Park Nature Trail after improvements made using Recreational Trails Program funding. The trail received numerous upgrades which included refacing the entire trail with stone, and in some cases completely rebuilding old sections by re-cutting them and making them easier to traverse. Additionally two bridges were replaced on the trail.
The trail was originally dedicated in 1984, and other than routine maintenance these are the first large scale improvements since that time. According to the WV Gazette Mail, "The St. Albans City Park Nature Trail is used throughout the year for regular and special events, such as guided group hikes, the yearly “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” Spring Nature Hike each April and a Haunted Trail open for terror-inducing tours during the Halloween season in October.
The park and hiking trails are open to the public from daylight to dark daily."
On October 22, 2020 U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced 30 new national recreation trails in 25 states, adding more than 1,275 miles to the National Trails System.
This Comprehensive Management and Use Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails is shaped, in part, by the planning requirements found in section 5(f) of the National Trails System Act. It focuses on the trails’ purpose and significance, issues and concerns related to current conditions along the trails, resource protection, visitor experience and use, and long-term administrative and management objectives. Elements of the proposed plan have been developed in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as nonprofit trails organizations — the entities that form the core of any partnership for national historic trails.
The strategy described here provides guidance for the administration of the entire trail and a vision to be fulfilled through future, specific resources studies, and site and segment management plans. Much of the basis for the “Comprehensive Administrative Strategy” was developed during the earlier comprehensive management plan efforts.
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Landscape Conservation System Office is pleased to provide you with the National Scenic and Historic Trails (NSHT) Strategy and Work Plan. The purpose of this national-level strategy is to provide a 10-year framework for the development of program guidance and direction for improved management of the BLM’s NSHT Program.