The seven-mile trail from the north side of Griffith Park at Riverside Drive along the Los Angeles River to Barclay Street in Elysian Valley is now officially a National Recreational Trail (NRT), announced Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis early this month.
The Los Angeles River Greenway/Bike Path shares the honor with 54 other trails this year, adding almost 1,400 miles to the National Trails System. What does it all mean? Basically, it means the "federal government has acknowledged that this is a valuable trail. It meets basic criteria in terms of quality and that, it's a trail highly valued at the local level," says Anne Dove of the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance in Southern California.
Honor aside, Dove points out that being part of the National Recreational Trail system has other benefits: access to technical assistance in relation to the greenway, information sharing between other agencies managing other trails, and added visibility through the National Recreational Trail database. Perhaps most importantly, NRT-designation also means access to funds from National Recreational Trails program partners such as National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program, Bureau of Land Management, and USDA Forest Service Challenge Cost Share Programs. States also consider NRT designation when allocating the Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements, and other funding administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.
"The vision of the Los Angeles River trail is to extend the entire reach of the river. Hopefully, this designation will help the trail managers, the city and other non-profit partners to leverage additional resources and support to further expand the trail and accomplish that long-term vision," said Dove.
For now, the Los Angeles River Greenway will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and a set of trail markers. But we're looking forward to seeing the bikeway extend its reach alongside the 52-mile river.