Congress and President Obama have given "National Scenic Trail" Designation to the 807-mile Arizona Trail, bestowing extra protection and attention on the 21-year-old route.
For local residents, this is just one more reminder that the trail awaits your bootprints. On cool spring days, few things sound better than an idyllic hike through some of the state's most picturesque backcountry.
Look at this trail Web site, www.aztrail.org, for information on the effort to get this designation and what it means.
Here's Governor Jan Brewer's statement:
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Statement by Governor Jan Brewer
Regarding the Arizona National Scenic Trail Designation
PHOENIX - "With President Obama's signature on Monday, March 30th, the nearly completed Arizona Trail received the first National Scenic Trail designation in the United States in 25 years. The 800 mile-long route, spanning from our southern border with Mexico to our northern border with Utah, was born from the vision of Flagstaff school teacher Dale Shewalter and navigates through the State's most beautiful and scenic backcountry, showcasing our diverse landscapes and wildlife. Through the efforts of several state and federal agencies, elected officials, volunteers and private corporations more than 95 percent of the Trail has already been completed. My dear friend, Congressman Bob Stump, helped secure the first seven mile segment of the Arizona Trail in 1988. This is a great day for all of the citizens of Arizona.
"The Arizona Trail is a testament to what can be accomplished through public-private partnerships. I would like to commend Mr. Shewalter for offering his vision and guidance throughout the years and to Dave Hicks and the Arizona Trail Association for their commitment to completing this project. The time and efforts of the countless volunteers involved are also to be commended. In addition, I wish to thank Arizona's congressional delegation, in particular Senator Kyl, Senator McCain and Congresswoman Giffords, for their efforts on behalf of this legislation."