ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Veterans Trail at Coralville Lake, Iowa City, Iowa, as a National Recreation Trail for 2012.
National Recreation Trail designation recognizes those trails that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. The first national trails were established in the early 1970s. Today, the national network consists of 1,150 designated trails, encompassing more than 13,650 miles of existing trails and trail systems.
The Veterans Trail at the Coralville Lake Project is a quarter-mile, barrier-free trail. Individuals of all abilities can view the flora and fauna or experience quiet reflection as the trail meanders among mature oak, hickory, and maple trees. The Lake’s Annual Memorial Day Ceremony recognizes select area veterans from the Civil War to present who have received a purple heart or higher honor. Currently, memorials and monuments on the trail pay tribute to 156 local veterans. Features dedicated to individual veterans include a bird observation area, a flower garden, rest areas, and a bridge. The trail will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and national recreation trail markers.
Coralville’s trail is among 54 trails nationwide designated this year and joins three other previously designated Rock Island District National Recreation Trails:
- Neal Smith Trail, Des Moines, Iowa
- Des Moines River Water Trail North Section (Cottonwood Recreation Area to Birdland Park), and South Section (Harriet Street to Yellow Banks), Des Moines, Iowa
- Smith’s Island Nature Trail, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
This year’s designation of new trails adds almost 1,400 miles to the National Trails System. These land and water trails will continue to connect people with nature and the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle, a core principle behind President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiatives.
The National Recreation Trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website at http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
As the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has more than 420 lake and river projects in 43 states providing more than 7,300 miles of diverse land and water trail systems. Corps officials credit the support of local public and private organizations and the thousands of volunteers annually in helping to make these trails available for public use.
For more information on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land and water trails and the many other recreation opportunities available at Corps sites, please visit www.CorpsLakes.us.