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The Ark receives national trail designation
Trail runs from Great Bend to Arkansas City
new deh ark river trail pic  web
Pictured is the Arkansas River near Great Bend. A stretch of the river from Great Bend to the Oklahoma border was designated as a National Water Trail earlier this month. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Trails recently receiving national designation include:
Shetucket River Water Trail
The Shetucket River flows through The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor in Windham and New London Counties. The water trail offers 20 miles of paddling within an hour’s drive of three of New England’s largest urban and metropolitan regions. The major tributaries of the Shetucket River, the Quinebaug River to the east and Willimantic River to the west, have previously been designated National Recreation Trails.
Bartram Trail in Putnam County
John Bartram and his son, William, were naturalists and authors who explored the St. Johns River in the 1700s. Their legacy inspired the creation of a combined 250 miles of hiking, cycling, and paddling trails with related driving tours. A wealth of online resources facilitates planning for adventures within this slice of rural Florida.
Johnson Brook Trail
This 3.5-mile trail is located at the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Northern Maine National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Penobscot County. The loop traverses through a mixed hardwood/softwood forest. Numerous boardwalk sections allow visitors to experience the forested wetlands that surround Sunkhaze Bog.
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area Trails
The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area is located seven-miles from downtown Tulsa. The Red, Blue, and Yellow Trails provide 6.7 miles of marked trails for beginner to advanced hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders. The trail system winds along cliffs overlooking the Arkansas River and past ponds and rock gardens into the heart of the heavily wooded wilderness.
Roche Harbor Trails
The 9.1 miles of trails at Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan Island link a variety of natural features and cultural resources including open pastures, Northwest forests, water views, wildlife habitats, pond-filled quarries, restored nineteenth-century lime kilns, and the historic hotel. The trail system connects with the trail to English Camp at San Juan Island National Historic Park.
Secretary Jewell designated the following three trails this year as National Water Trails:
Kankakee River Water Trail
The 133-mile Kankakee River Water Trail traverses northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois in what was once one of the United States’ largest wetlands. The water trail boasts ample public access sites, thousands of acres of natural areas and preserves, remarkable wildlife, overnight camping for paddlers, many historic sites, and a high-quality sports fishery.
Arkansas River Water Trail
The Arkansas River Water Trail provides 192 miles of scenic water trail and riverside wildlife habitat from Great Bend, Kansas to the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The trail provides recreational paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities via 22 existing access sites as it meanders through the expansive prairie and rich farmland, passing many cities and small towns along its way.
Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail
The Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail is located in southwest Ohio and includes 291 miles of paddling, fishing, and wildlife watching opportunities on three beautiful rivers and many smaller tributaries. The major rivers include the Great Miami, Stillwater, and Mad Rivers, all of which are Ohio-designated State water trails. The trail offers a range of opportunities for human-powered and motorized boating. 


 As part of a larger announcement, a 192-mile portion of the Arkansas River in Kansas was designated as a National Water Trail earlier this month, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reported. The trail begins in Great Bend and ends at the Kansas-Oklahoma border southeast of Arkansas City. 

On June 3, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in joint statement that six local and state National Recreation Trails had received the designation. This added more than 350 miles to the National Trails System, and three National Water Trails, adding more than 600 miles to the National Water Trails System.    

“By designating these new National Trails, we recognize the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Jewell. “Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country.”

According to the Wichita-based Arkansas River Coalition,the Ark provides recreational paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities via 22 existing access sites as it meanders through the expansive prairie and rich farmland, passing many cities and small towns along its way. The trail head is near Stone Lake in Great Bend, and there are access points all along the route.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism notes that the Arkansas River is the sixth longest river in the United States and is the longest tributary of the Mississippi River. It travels about 1,469 miles from its origin near Leadville, Colo., through Kansas and Oklahoma to its confluence with the Mississippi River at Napoleon, Ark. 

In Kansas, the Arkansas River is pronounced “Ar-Kansas,” and is sometimes shortened to the “Ark River.”

The Ark River is prone to seasonal reductions in flow. When the flow is low, the river divides into several small channels flowing in a broad, shallow bed. During drier periods, it may run dry on its surface in southwest Kansas, but picks up water as it flows through the state. By the time it reaches Wichita, there is often plenty of water.

The total area drained by the river is over 160,000 square miles in parts of seven states.