HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recenlty joined trail supporters and elected officials to announce the official designation of the September 11th National Memorial Trail as a Statewide Major Greenway.
“We at DCNR are proud to designate the September 11th National Memorial Trail as a Statewide Major Greenway,” Dunn said. “It is impossible to understate the meaning this trail has for Pennsylvania and our nation as a whole. This designation is also important for our department’s mission of closing priority trail gaps, as they form the major ‘arteries’ of the statewide land and water trail network, which benefits recreation, health, transportation, economic, tourism and other benefits to residents throughout the commonwealth.”
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that symbolize resiliency and character while linking the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville. The trail serves as a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the many heroes who committed themselves to the response. In October 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation that federally designated the September 11th National Memorial Trail Route.
“The 9/11 National Memorial Trail is very pleased with our strong partnership with the Pennsylvania DCNR,” September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance President Tom Baxter said. “The commonwealth represents a significant portion of the trail alignment, and will definitely present fresh new opportunities and much prosperity to numerous communities — both physically and economically.”
Pennsylvania’s designation comes on the heels of federal legislation, H.R. 2278, passed unanimously by the House and Senate, then signed by President Joe Biden on October 13, 2021. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to designate the September 11th National Memorial Trail route.
“I was proud to help spearhead the effort in Congress to pass legislation to designate the September 11th National Memorial Trail. Now, I am pleased to join the DCNR to celebrate the trail’s designation as a Statewide Major Greenway,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “The trail and this special designation will allow Pennsylvanians to harness the great outdoors to forever commemorate our heroes and memorialize the innocent lives our nation lost on 9/11.”
The trail spans 25 counties in Pennsylvania, including 16 local trails. One of the trails that is a part of the network is the Delaware Canal State Park Towpath, which was recently named Pennsylvania’s 2022 Trail of the Year.
“Pennsylvania has some of the most beautiful trails in the nation, and many of them are in Montgomery and Berks counties where I call home,” Congresswoman Madeleine Dean said. “It is a powerful tribute and a wonderful distinction to have the 9/11 trail added to the list of incredible Pennsylvania trails. As the mission states, I am certain the trail will remember, discover, and connect people of all backgrounds.”
The Statewide Major Greenway designation was sought and supported in a combined effort by the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, the 25 Pennsylvania counties through which the route passes, and the more than 16 existing trails that share alignments with the September 11th National Memorial Trail.
Statewide Major Greenways are existing or planned long-distance corridors, at least 50 miles long, that pass through two or more counties and are recognized in official planning documents. Since 2001, DCNR has maintained a map of the state’s major greenways and considers them to be the highest priority for trail funding.
Pennsylvania is a national leader in trail development, providing its citizens and visitors with more than 12,000 miles of trails across the commonwealth, from gentle pathways threading through miles of preserved greenways, to remote, rugged trails scaling the state’s highest mountains.
To learn more about the 650 trails DCNR supports, visit its website about Pennsylvania Trails.