The Great Plains – It’s a National Treasure

Capulin Volcano National Monument - one of many nationally significant sites along the Great Plains Trail

Capulin Volcano National Monument – one of many nationally significant sites along the Great Plains Trail

The subject came up recently about how many sites of national significance the Great Plains Trail will pass through (in its currently envisioned state, which is subject to variations).  For the sake of this blog post, I will consider only National Parks, National Monuments, National Forests, and National Grasslands.  This leaves many other  important places off the list such as National Wildlife Refuges, State Parks, and other significant areas of interest, but I will return to those at a later time and we will be able to get a final tally for the Great Plains Trail.

The short answer for the four entities mentioned earlier is a whopping 16!

I will list them below and provide a link for each of them, but it should be mentioned that this total beats the Appalachian Trail’s total of 12 (and for that, I included its one National Historic Park, and one National Recreation Area).

It also beats the Florida National Scenic Trail which has a total of 5 (and for that, I included Everglades National Park, which it doesn’t really quite go through).

It beats the North Country National Scenic Trail which has a total of 7 (In fairness, the NCNST does go through a multitude of state parks and state forests to be sure).

It beats the Arizona National Scenic Trail’s total of 6 (In fairness, the National Forests it goes through are pretty big).

In fact, the proposed Great Plains National Scenic Trail beats all other National Scenic Trails in this category except the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.  Wow!  Who would’ve thought the Great Plains had so much to offer? . . . we did.

Here is a list (with links) to the 16 nationally significant areas on the GPT:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Wind Cave National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Scottsbluff National Monument

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Custer National Forest

Black Hills National Forest

Nebraska National Forest

Lincoln National Forest

Little Missouri National Grassland

Buffalo Gap National Grassland

Oglala National Grassland

Pawnee National Grassland

Comanche National Grassland

Kiowa National Grassland



About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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4 Responses to The Great Plains – It’s a National Treasure

  1. trailsnet says:

    Great list & thanks for the links.

  2. Andrea says:

    Super interesting! Way to tie a bunch of them together.

  3. Don Gillespie says:

    The map on the web pages does not show the GPT going though North Dakota. How, then, does it go through Theodore Roosevelt NP?

    • Good point. The map is in dire need of an update. We’re still working with an early prototype map. The current plan is to route the trail through North Dakota as well as Montana. Thanks for the observation, and the reminder to work on an updated map!

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