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Millenium Trails Announcement

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Millennium Council
Millennium Trails

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,
U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater
Announce 16 National Millennium Trails

Celebrating America’s rich history, as well as its bright future in the 21st century, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater designated 16 National Millennium Trails on Saturday, June 26.

The designations were announced in Pittsburgh at the International Trails and Greenways Conference organized by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

The Millennium Trails initiative is a part of the White House Millennium Council’s efforts to stimulate national and local activities to "Honor the Past and Imagine the Future." This public/private partnership is led by the Department of Transportation, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and a collaborative of other agencies and organizations. The purpose of Millennium Trails is to spark the creation and enhancement of more than 2,000 trails as part of America’s legacy for the future.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "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. The 16 National Millennium Trails that Secretary Slater designated today are all visionary projects that define us as Americans."

"Transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete and steel, it’s about people," said Secretary Slater. "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. The designated National Millennium Trails symbolize America's legacy for the Millennium."

David Burwell, President of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, said, "All of the more than 50 applicants for National Millennium Trails designation deserve recognition. The National Millennium Trails announced today represent a cross section of the growing trails movement in America."

The 16 National Millennium Trails designated are:

The Unicoi Turnpike -- A 68-mile trail dating from the first millennium that carried the Cherokee people from the flatlands east to the Smokies through the mountains to the hills of East Tennessee. It provided similar passage for European settlers in Colonial and post-revolutionary times. In our day, the Unicoi spirits contemporary Americans into remote trailside communities still reflective of Cherokee and Appalachian cultures.

The Cascadia Marine Trail -- A water trail in the Pacific northwest currently enjoyed by canoeists, kayakers and other watercraft as they explore the beauty of Puget Sound and witness the grandeur of Mount Rainier. It follows the wake of inlets and coves that originally marked a Native American water trade system.

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail -- Stretches 1,200 miles from the Mexican border to San Francisco, marking the route of exploration and settlement followed by the Spanish as they claimed the Pacific coast for the Iberian Crown.

The Freedom Trail -- Connects 15 sites in old Boston that capture America’ s revolutionary history, including Faneuil Hall, where plans were laid for an infamous tea party, and Old North Church, watched closely one night by Paul Revere as he rowed with muffled oar to the Charlestown shore.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail -- Commemorates the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06, which covered 3,700 miles of American frontier from St. Louis, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River in current-day Oregon. It opened the continent of North America to European settlement.

The Underground Railroad -- Follows multiple secret routes that originated in the South, intertwined throughout the North, and eventually led to Canada, the western territories, Mexico, the Caribbean, and freedom for those people held in bondage below the Mason-Dixon line. Loss of life or severest punishment was risked by fleeing slaves determined to find their destiny as free men and women.

Civil War Discovery Trail -- Identifies and thematically connects the battlefields, military routes and sites of historic significance from the nation’s most serious breakdown in domestic tranquility. It provides a lens through which contemporary Americans can view the war which tore the nation so dramatically asunder and offers lessons for its continued binding without malice and redeemed by charity.

The International Express -- The Number Seven Train through Queens, New York, connects a series of immigrant neighborhoods and is a metaphor for the migration of all the world’s people to America’s shores. Pakistani, Irish, Romanian, African-American, Italian, Korean, Hispanic, Indian, Argentinean and other ethnic neighborhoods are connected and available for exploration and cultural discovery on this route from Sunnyside to Flushing.

Iditarod National Historic Trail -- Surveyed in 1908 by the U.S. Government, the Iditarod is America’s only remaining frontier trail. Its 938 miles connect remote settlements to each other, mark the way of the Klondike Gold Rush, and provide a yearly reenactment of the dogsled race-of-mercy that brought life-saving serum to diphtheria-ridden Nome, Alaska. Winter travelers go by sled, snowshoe, snowmobile or cross country ski. Warm weather natives and visitors explore the trail via all modes of conveyance, including watercraft where the trailway has melted.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail -- Reaffirms America’s love and respect for the great beauty of our land and is the nation’s first major consciously-created trail. Not a route of exploration, settlement or trade, it is rather a 20th century recognition that we will have no trails in modern times unless we purposefully build and protect them. Stretching over two thousand miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalchian Trail is a narrow footpath traversing the Appalachian Mountains’ ridge-crests and major valleys. The need to protect the Appalachian Trail from encroaching development led to the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968.

The Great Western Trail -- Follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains and stretches across America on a north/south axis from the Canadian to the Mexican border. It traverses lands managed by the federal government, five states and the Navajo Indian Nation. Its unique design of parallel routes accommodating different trail users allows a wide range of Americans access to the grandeur of our West.

The North Country National Scenic Trail -- Provides a narrow route through the unique northern rim topography of the continental United States and binds together over 160 state parks, forests and wildlife areas from New York to North Dakota. It is a traceable footpath providing hiking opportunities through seven states, potentially covering 4,600 miles.

Hatfield-McCoy Trail System -- Employs an entirely new approach to trail building by forging a partnership with the corporate giants who own the coal fields of southwest West Virginia and surrounding states. Old railbeds, abandoned logging roads and other unused routes that once transported the region’s wealth to fuel industrial America, will be recycled as a 2,000-mile trail system accommodating off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle riders, equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers and other trail users.

The East Coast Greenway -- Sweeps the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida connecting 15 of America’s most populous states and virtually every major city of the eastern seaboard. It will incorporate scores of currently disconnected local trails and traverse a remarkable range of urban, suburban, village and rural landscapes, providing recreation, transportation and historic assets to literally millions of east coast Americans.

The Mississippi River Trail -- Combines bicycling and blues by following the nation’s mightiest river from Minneapolis to New Orleans. Envisioned as a bicycling route that will touch upon the cultural, historic and natural and habitat richness of the Mississippi River Valley, this trail will allow Americans to experience first-hand what Mark Twain has described as the "body of the nation."

American Discovery Trail -- From Sea-to-Shining Sea becomes a trail reality as the American Discovery Trail crosses the nation on a continuous line of existing trails, rail-trails, canal towpaths, forest lanes and country roads. When complete, the trail will cover over 6,500 miles, connecting America to America, our dreams to our realities, and the past which we honor to the future of our imaginations.

For more information on Millennium Trails, click here, or call the Department of Transportation at (202) 366-5580.


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Dr. Bernard Bailyn

Committee on the Arts and Humanities

President At Millennium Lecture

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Excerpts from 1997 State of the Union

Millenium Trails Announcement

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The President and The First Lady

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