Three National Scenic Trails Designated as Units of the National Park System 

Three National Scenic Trails Designated as Units of the National Park System 

As the founder of National Park Posters, I'm thrilled to share some exciting news about our nation's natural treasures. Recently, three national scenic trails – the Ice Age, New England, and North Country trails – have become part of the National Park System. This significant development increases the total count of national parks from 425 to 428, a milestone that underscores our country's commitment to preserving its stunning natural landscapes.

The Ice Age, New England, and North Country trails, previously part of the National Trails System, are a testament to their importance and the role they play in connecting people to the great outdoors.

According to National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, this is expected to enhance public awareness and encourage more people to explore these trails. Spanning over 5,500 miles through various landscapes in 10 states, they offer an array of outdoor recreational opportunities, from urban green spaces to remote wilderness areas. These trails embody the spirit of adventure and discovery, presenting everything from serene lakes and cascading waterfalls to majestic mountains and historical sites.

Despite their new status, the trails will retain their current size and structure, continuing to benefit from established access points, signage, and dedicated staff and volunteers. Last year alone, volunteers contributed over 150,000 hours to these trails, emphasizing the community's involvement in preserving these natural corridors.

Joining the ranks of the Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage trails, these three additions align with the Congressional and stakeholder vision for a consistent and equitable status among all national scenic trails managed by the National Park Service.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin, almost 1,200 miles long, offers a glimpse into the geological past, with landscapes shaped by the last Ice Age. In contrast, the New England National Scenic Trail in Connecticut and Massachusetts spans 235 miles, showcasing the diverse beauty of New England's natural and cultural heritage. The North Country National Scenic Trail, still under completion, will eventually stretch 4,600 miles across several states, revealing the diverse landscapes of the Lake Superior Region, Adirondacks, Ohio River Valley, and North Dakota plains.

These trails are part of the broader National Park System, which encompasses over 85 million acres across the United States and its territories. The system is diverse, including not only parks but also battlefields, monuments, seashores, historical sites, and now, these magnificent scenic trails.

As someone deeply passionate about our national parks, I find this expansion exhilarating. It's a reminder of the vast and varied landscapes our country has to offer and the endless opportunities for exploration and connection with nature. These trails, now recognized as national parks, are invaluable assets that will continue to inspire and rejuvenate all who wander their paths.

Rob Decker is a photographer and graphic artist who had the rare privilege of studying under Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when he was just 19 years old. Now, Rob is on a journey to explore and photograph all 61 of America’s National Parks. He’s creating WPA-style posters to help people celebrate their own national park adventures — as well as encourage others to get out and explore!

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