A coming infusion of $330,000 will help five units of the National Park System improve their trail networks.
The money, funneled through the "Connect Trails to Parks" program, will help Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Scotts Bluff National Monument, and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park improve trails leading to their surrounding communities.
The grant program was established during the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System in 2008.
Dan Wenk, acting director of the National Park Service, says the funding will "enable our visitors to better appreciate both the national parks and the national trails that touch or cross the parks through new connections, better information systems, and upgraded facilities. It is wonderful way to commemorate the anniversary of the National Trails System.”
In addition to operating park areas across the United States and territories, the National Park Service plays a vital role in operating the 50,000-mile National Trails System. This trails system dates from legislation in 1968 that created the Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails. Today, the National Trails System is comprised of eight national scenic trails (NSTs), 18 national historic trails (NHTs), and more than 1,000 national recreation trails (NRTs).
The five selected projects restore or improve existing trails and trailhead connections, provide better wayside and interpretive services, or provide planning services for important trail gateways. Nine more project grants will be awarded later this year.
Here's a look at the five grant projects:
* Connector trail from the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, to the Appalachian Trail, $60,000.
* Rehabilitation of the Historic Jesup Path, part of the Dorr Mountain National Recreation Trail, in Acadia National Park, $99,000.
* Provide planning and coordination for the Lions Park Trail and Transportation Hub, part of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and Slickrock National Recreation Trail, to connect with Arches National Park, $100,000.
* The Monument Valley Historical Trails, Waysides and Kiosks grant will benefit the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express national historic trails and Scotts Bluff National Monument, $20,000.
* Rehabilitation of the White Rock Falls Trailhead and Visitor Parking Area along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail at milepost 18 in the Blue Ridge Parkway, $54,000.