Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Receives National Trail Recognition
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced the designation of Doeskin Ranch on Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge as a National Recreation Trail (NRT). This is the first NRT designated on a national wildlife refuge in the state. Doeskin Ranch Trail System joins 17 other NRTs on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands this year.
“These trails lead hikers through some of America’s most beautiful deserts, wetlands and prairies that make up our National Wildlife Refuge System and National Fish Hatcheries,” said Secretary Norton. “The National Recreation Trails designation will help more people discover the many recreational opportunities available on refuges and at hatcheries.”
National Recreation Trails are designated in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization by the Secretary of Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, and recognize exemplary trails of local and regional significance. Doeskin Ranch is now recognized as part of America's national system of trails and joins more than 900 other trails nationwide.
Doeskin Ranch and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge will benefit from the prestige and increased visibility of being a part of the National Trail System. New designations are announced annually by the Secretary of the Interior as part of the nationwide celebration of National Trails Day, the first Saturday in June, and recognized at the biannual National Trails Symposium.
National Recreation Trails provide for numerous outdoor recreation activities in a variety of urban, rural and remote areas, ranging from less than a mile to 485 miles in length on federal, state, municipal, and privately owned lands.
For more information on the National Recreation Trails program, visit the American Trails website at http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Doeskin Ranch currently has 3.5 miles of trails from relatively easy to moderate walking. Backcountry trails will be under construction beginning this autumn. Bring water and good foot wear! Doeskin Ranch is open during daylight hours for people most every day of the year. It is located on RR 1174 about 11 miles from the refuge office (on FM 1431) via Cow Creek Road.