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: