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Pribilof Islands Trail added to National Trails System

June 9, 2006

Alaska's New National Trail

U.S Fish & Wildlife photo

The Secretary of the Interior recently designated the High Bluffs Trail of St. Paul Island, a windswept walk above sea cliffs teeming with seabirds and along shores pounded by the Bering Sea, as a National Recreation Trail, one of 15 in Alaska. The High Bluffs Trail is located on the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on remote St. Paul Island, more than 300 miles from mainland Alaska in the heart of the Bering Sea. St. Paul is part of the storied Pribilof Islands, known for their wealth of marine wildlife (including three million seabirds and nearly a million fur seals). The six-mile-long trail is used mainly by Pribilovians on foot and by ATVs. Running through fields of tundra wildflowers and rocky volcanic outcrops, it provides access to some of the finest bird cliffs and scenery on the 30,000 acre island. The St. Paul Tribal Government, the City of St. Paul, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Tanaquisix Corporation joined recently to improve the trail by preventing tundra damage from vehicles during the wet season and providing public information and parking.

There are only two other National Recreation Trails on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska: The Swan Lakes Canoe Trail and the Swanson River Canoe Trail, both on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Designation as a National Recreation Trail provides recognition, technical assistance and funding opportunities. Last week, as one of his first actions in office, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne designated 36 trails in 24 states as new National Recreation Trails, adding more than 800 miles of trails to the National Trails System. The newly designated trails join a network of more than 900 trails covering more than 10,000 miles.

The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners including American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trail website at www.american trails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.


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