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Suncoast Trail recognized by federal government

The Suncoast Trail has been designated a "National Recreation Trail" by the Department of Interior's National Park Service. The 42-mile pedestrian/bicycle trail also was named a "Millennium Trail" by the White House Millennium Council in October 2000.

As part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System, the Suncoast Trail, which runs adjacent to the Suncoast Parkway, will play an important part in the establishment of a statewide system of greenways and trails.

The trail, which is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation, is operated and maintained by the Hillsborough, Pasco, and Hernando counties Parks and Recreation departments.

The 30-mile southern portion of the trail was opened last year and the remaining 12-mile section, from State Road 50 to U.S. 98 in Hernando County, will be opened in two phases by the end of this year.

Plans for future connections between the trail and adjoining properties are being explored for the purpose of providing more trail access points.

_ JOHN BALZ, JACKIE RIPLEY

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