Former West Virginia railroad designated as national trail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Greenbrier River Trail has been designated as a national recreation trail, federal officials said.

The trail adds more 78 miles to the National Trails System, a network of more than 1,300 existing trails across the U.S., a statement from the Interior Department said.

“As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and our nation takes a collective and cautious sigh of relief, we need recreational resources now more than ever to strengthen physical, social and mental health across our country,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

The Greenbrier River Trail is a former railroad that’s now used for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The longest trail of its kind in West Virginia, it goes through several small towns and some of West Virginia’s most remote areas and includes 35 bridges and two tunnels.

“The addition of the Greenbrier River Trail to our National Trails System is fantastic news for our entire state,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement. “These and all of the other magnificent parks and trails within our borders truly connect our communities and create endless opportunities for both residents and visitors alike while also contributing to local economies.”