The Great American Rail-Trail secures funding to close gaps across four states

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The Great American Rail-Trail secures funding to close gaps across four states

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The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has announced that nearly $13 million in funding has been secured for portions of the Great American Rail-Trail, a scenic multi-use trail that will eventually stretch 3,700 miles across the United States. 

Currently, the trail is 52% complete. The recently secured funding will connect trails in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Washington State, adding an additional 100 miles of new trail in 2020.

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Report finds that half of the U.S. population does not participate in outdoor recreation at all

A new report by Boulder, Colorado-based Outdoor Foundation, found that about half of the U.S. population participated in outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, and biking, at least once in 2018. The flip side of that news, of course, is that the other half of the U.S. population did not participate in outdoor recreation at all.

The report found that less than 20 percent of Americans recreated outside at least once a week and that Americans went on one billion fewer outdoor outings in 2018 than they did in 2008. Kids went on 15 percent fewer annual outdoor outings than they did in 2012. The report also showed an ongoing gap between the diversity of those recreating outdoors and the diversity of the U.S. population. Non-Caucasian ethnic groups reported going on far fewer outings in 2018 than they did five years ago.

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Road into Great Smoky Mountains National Park to close for months beginning Feb. 10

The road leading into the Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will close on Feb. 10 and will reopen on May 20. The N.C. Department of Transportation will close Cove Creek Road, which serves as the main route into Cataloochee, in order to restore the original width of the road. Crews will build a new retaining wall on the slope above the road to prevent future slides and unexpected closures, NCDOT spokesperson David Uchiyama told the Citizen Times. 

Access road N.C. 284 will also be closed while the work takes place. Both roads are closed to all vehicle traffic as well as cyclists and equestrians. 

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