Congaree River Blue Trail Photo Wins National Contest

An image of the blue trail wins the National Recreation Trail Photo Contest

February 19th, 2009

<P>Matt Rice, American Rivers, 803-771-7206<BR>Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers, 202-347-7550 Ext. 3100</P>

Washington, DC -The Congaree River Blue Trail, the first water trail in South Carolina to be designated a National Recreation Trail, has one more thing to add to its resume.  Recently a photo of the trail won the annual National Recreation Trail Photo Contest.  American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization, played an instrumental role in the creation of the Congaree Blue Trail and continues to promote blue trails across the Southeast.

To download a print quality version of the award winning photo, visit, right click and select “save as.” Please credit Ron Ahle, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

“The Congaree Blue Trail helps people get in touch with one of South Carolina’s most precious resources as they can explore the area’s unique history, amazing scenery, and.diverse wildlife. The trail is easily accessible from Columbia and also runs along the Congaree National Park,” says Matt Rice, Associate Director of Southeast Conservation for American Rivers. “Earning national recognition like this is a great because it will help put this trail on the map, so to speak.”

The goal of the photo contest is to highlight the diversity of National Recreation Trails and to make Americans more familiar with America’s greatest trails. National Recreation Trails are designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to recognize exemplary trails of local and regional significance.  Through designation, trails like the Congaree River Blue Trail are recognized as part of America’s national system of trails.

Blue trails, the water equivalent to hiking trails, are created to facilitate recreation in and along rivers and other water bodies.  Through recreation, trails like the Congaree River Blue Trail inspire people to protect their local rivers from harm and repair damage from the past.  They also have the potential to stimulate local economies, encourage physical fitness, improve community pride, and make rivers and communities healthier. And, because they can result in healthier rivers, blue trails can increase property values, provide cost effective flood control, and reduce infrastructure costs.

To have a successful blue trail you need to have a healthy water body. That’s why blue trails are often associated with conservation easements and land acquisition, stream buffer requirements, higher water quality standards, and stream flow protections. Communities across the country are realizing this and are beginning to plan for conservation when creating new and improving existing blue trails. American Rivers, and our partners, are helping communities reconnect to the Congaree River through recreation and work to protect and restore this valuable community asset.

To learn more about Blue Trails, visit

To learn more about the Congaree River Blue Trail, visit


About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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