The Millennium Trails initiative was a part of the White House Millennium Council's efforts to stimulate national and local activities to "Honor the Past and Imagine the Future." This public/private partnership was led by the Department of Transportation, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and a collaborative of other agencies and organizations. These designations spark the creation and enhancement of more than 2,000 trails as part of America's legacy for the future.
The Millennium Legacy Trails were selected from nominations by the governors of the states and territories to reflect the essence and spirit of our nation's states and territories. These trails, made up of rail-trails and greenways, historic trails, cultural itineraries, recreation paths, waterways, alternative transportation corridors and many other types of trails "stitch a design in our landscape and together help to create a picture of America." (Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton)
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Reaffirms America's love and respect for the great beauty of our land and is the nation's first major consciously-created trail. Not a route of exploration, settlement or trade, it is rather a 20th century recognition that we will have no trails in modern times unless we purposefully build and protect them. Stretching over two thousand miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is a narrow footpath traversing the Appalachian Mountains' ridge-crests and major valleys. The need to protect the Appalachian Trail from encroaching development led to the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968.
Civil War Discovery Trail
Identifies and thematically connects the battlefields, military routes and sites of historic significance from the nation's most serious breakdown in domestic tranquility. It provides a lens through which contemporary Americans can view the war which tore the nation so dramatically asunder and offers lessons for its continued binding without malice and redeemed by charity.
The East Coast Greenway
Sweeps the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida connecting 15 of America's most populous states and virtually every major city of the eastern seaboard. It will incorporate scores of currently disconnected local trails and traverse a remarkable range of urban, suburban, village and rural landscapes, providing recreation, transportation and historic assets to literally millions of east coast Americans.
The Underground Railroad
Follows multiple secret routes that originated in the South, intertwined throughout the North, and eventually led to Canada, the western territories, Mexico, the Caribbean, and freedom for those people held in bondage below the Mason-Dixon line. Loss of life or severest punishment was risked by fleeing slaves determined to find their destiny as free men and women.