In 2008, the majority of the 264 miles of the Ozark Trail located within Mark Twain National Forest were designated a National Recreation Trail (NRT) because they offer “premier” access to shared-use opportunities in the region.

Naturally, advocates were thrilled — being named to the NRT roster brings prestige, increased visibility, access to networking, and funding opportunities. The only problem: The Ozark Trail stretches more than 430 miles in total, meaning not all of it was included in the original designation.

For the past several years, the Ozark Trail Association (OTA) has worked with Federal and State agencies and private land managers to change this, and as of June, the USDA Forest Service has re-designated the entire Ozark Trail as a NRT.

“We’re so excited to say that every inch, foot, and mile of Missouri’s longest multi-use trail is now a National Recreation Trail, which is huge,” said Kathie Brennan, president of the OTA. “As you recreate on the Ozark Trail, just think of the hundreds of OTA volunteers who have created an outstanding trail for all to enjoy traversing through the Missouri Ozarks.”

Photo: Mark Nettles is a contributor to Terrain Magazine.