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Some long and winding roads

U.S. Transportation secretary in city to name 16 national trails

Friday, June 25, 1999

By Don Hopey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Sixteen trails, some with long histories, others with no pasts but bright green futures, have been named National Millennium Trails.

Designated trails well-trod through history include the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail from St. Louis to the Columbia River in Oregon, the Colonial-era Freedom Trail in Boston, the Unicoi Turnpike, a 68-mile pathway of Cherokee tribes through the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Appalachian Trail, a 2,150-mile footpath from Georgia to Maine.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater will announce the designations at the second international Trails and Greenways Conference in Pittsburgh tomorrow.

Among those on the list but in various stages of development are the North Country National Scenic Trail, which will connect 160 state parks from New York to North Dakota; the East Coast Greenway, planned to connect 15 states and almost every major city on the Eastern seaboard; and the 6,500-mile, sea-to-sea America Discovery Trail.

The Millennium Trails program, a joint project of the White House Millennium Council, the U.S. Transportation Department and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, is designed to spark the creation and enhancement of trails across the United States.

"Transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete and steel. It's about people," Slater said in a statement released by his department.

"The National Millennium Trails connect our nation's landscape, heritage and culture, and demonstrate our national commitment to improving the quality of life for all Americans."

In addition to the National Millennium Trails, the program will designate 52 Millennium Legacy Trails -- one in each state, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia -- before the end of the year.

Other trails of local importance will be designated Community Trails 2000.

No Pittsburgh or Pennsylvania trails are on the national list, but Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, said a strong candidate for the state's Legacy list is the 230-mile trail linking Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers.

"Through the Millennium Trails project we are building and maintaining trails that tell the story of our nation's past and will help to create a positive vision for our future," Hillary Rodham Clinton said in the statement. "The 16 trails Secretary Slater designated are all visionary projects that define us as Americans."

Other trails on the national list include the Cascadia Marine Trail, a water trail following the inlets and coves of the Washington coastline that were part of a Native American trade system; the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, a 1,200-mile route from the Mexican border to San Francisco; The Underground Railroad, multiple routes from the South through Pennsylvania and the East to Canada; the Civil War Discovery Trail, which identifies and thematically connects battlefields and military routes; and the 938-mile Iditerod National Historic Trail, a frontier trail connecting remote Klondike gold rush settlements in Alaska.

Also, the Great Western Trail, along the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico; the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in West Virginia and several surrounding states; the Mississippi River Trail, a bicycle route from Minneapolis to New Orleans; and the International Express route, following the No. 7 train through various immigrant and ethnic neighborhoods in Queens, N.Y.

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