As part of our nation's Millennium commemoration
of the year 2000, the United States Department of Transportation is working
with the White House Millennium Council, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
and other partners to “honor the past and imagine the future” by implementing
a Millennium Trials Initiative.
Millennium Trails is a national initiative to
recognize, promote and support trails which preserve open spaces, interpret
history and culture and enhance transportation, recreation and tourism.
In honor of the millennium, the initiative will designate over 2000 trail
projects in three categories, stimulating new activities to celebrate,
enhance and develop those trails.
The Alabama Millennium Trails Project is co-chaired
by Alabama's First Lady Lori Allen Siegelman and Pete Conroy, Jacksonville
State University's Director of Environmental Policy and Information Center.
The program has three components:
Community Trails 2000 – 2000 local
trail projects will be selected for national recognition across the country.
An announcement relating to Alabama's Community Millennium Trails is scheduled
to made in early February of 2000. The top five Alabama trails in this
category will receive a funding opportunity of $10,000 each.
In all categories, individuals, corporations,
trail groups, local governments, or state and federal agencies have made
nominations. The advisory committee was appointed to review and rank
Millennium Legacy Trails – one Legacy Trail
has been selected from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto
Rico. In Alabama the top trail chosen was the Pinhoti Recreation Trail,
however, the top four trails have received a funding opportunity of $25,000
each. The other top three recipients are the Selma to Montgomery Trail
(funding refused due to the availability of existing federal funds), the
Bankhead Trail System, and the Alabama Coastal Trail System.
On October 21 Pete Conroy
and Alabama First Lady Lori Allen Siegelman traveled to Washington DC for
a White House Ceremony with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The occasion was for
an announcement of the nation's 50 Millennium Legacy Trails. The Pinhoti
Trail as selected as Alabama's top pick. Accompanied by Alabama State Parks
Director Don Cooley, Conroy and Mrs. Siegelman met with a variety of officials
to promote Alabama's natural assets and increase the state's level of ecotourism.
Asked what the White House announcement might mean for the Pinhoti, Ms.
Siegelman said, “it will hopefully bring lots of people to the trail.”
National Millennium Trails- Nationwide,
a total of sixteen trails were selected to symbolize America's legacy for
the Millennium. In Alabama, the Chief Ladiga Rail Trail was nominated but
not selected by the White House "Green Ribbon Panel". Maybe we'll have
better luck in the next millennium?!!!
Pinhoti Trail Builders left to right: Gene
Padgham, Phillip Alexander,
Anthony Alexander, Joe Copeland, Carroll Wilson,
Jim Austin and Dave Smith
|Maintaining Alabama's Millennium
Legacy Pinhoti Trail
While others simply enjoy the trail, these dedicated
volunteers have spent countless weekends of hard work maintaining and building
the Pinhoti Trail. Using fine rakes, axes, shovels, and lots of muscle,
the work is slow and always under appreciated. The next time you enjoy
a trail, take time to remember those who built it, and consider getting
involved. Call EPIC (256-782-8010) for more information!