Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon today were joined by local parks officials as well as fitness and outdoor enthusiasts to launch the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at David C. Murray Trailhead in Springfield. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register online at mo.gov, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook and Twitter.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great opportunity to enjoy Missouri's proud outdoor heritage, improve your health and - best of all - have fun with family and friends. Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore Missouri's award winning trails this year."
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. This national award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. Notable trails include the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails, and the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails.
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs. Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.
To take the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, visit mo.gov.