Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Grant helps Connect National Trails to Parks

April 6, 2009, 1:14 pm

Hikers, bikers and park enthusiasts will soon find it easier to visit national parks while exploring our National Trails System.

Five new “Connect Trails to Parks” grants will help enhance the link between national parks and other public lands. The $333,000 in grant money is earmarked to five projects where national historic and scenic trails intersect with national park units.

The five selected projects will help restore or improve existing trails and trailhead connections, provide better trailside exhibits, upgrade current facilities, or provide planning services for important trail gateways.

The first grant will fund the creation of a four-mile trail linking the visitor center at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Exhibits in the park and on the trail will notify visitors and hikers of the trail spur and the opportunities at the other end of it.

The second project will help restore the historic Jesup Path, which links Bar Harbor, Maine, to the Dorr Mountain National Recreation Trail in Acadia National Park.

Third is a new trail hub in Moab, Utah, where many popular hiking and mountain biking trails converge. Located on the edge of town, the new super-trailhead, dubbed the “Lions Park Trail and Transportation Hub,” will serve as a central jumping-off point for outdoor recreation in and around the community. Proximity to Arches National Park, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and the Slickrock National Recreation Trail, made this project well-suited for the grant program.

The fourth funded project will create a new loop trail and trailside exhibits in Gering, Nebraska, near Scotts Bluff National Monument. The educational trail will highlight the historical significance of the North Platte River during America’s westward expansion. Specifically, it will focus on the importance of the river to the travelers on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails, which all converge along the river near Gering.

The fifth grant announced in March will underwrite the rehabilitation of the White Rock Falls Trailhead and Visitor Parking Area for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The trailhead is located at milepost 18 of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesboro, Virginia. The funding will help give this popular entrance to the Appalachian Trail a much-deserved facelift.

Check out the National Trail System website for more information about these and other trail projects.