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Friday, March 2, 2012 - 6:26am

Chattahoochee Nation's First Water Trail

A Georgia waterway is the nation’s first National Water Trail, part of a new system of local waterways designed to boost recreational uses and preservation.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced this week the Chattahoochee River Water Trail travels 48 miles of the river, all within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

“The Chattahoochee River Water Trail provides clean water, greenspace, and river access for millions of Americans every year,” Salazar said in a news release announcing the designation. “As our nation opens a new chapter on rivers - one where we value our waterways for their recreational, economic and ecological importance - it is fitting that the Chattahoochee River Water Trail leads the way.”

The new water trails network comes as the White House hosts a conservation conference Friday to highlight community-driven conservation efforts.

The Interior Department said the river serves an important recreation area for anglers, kayakers and others, and the parks is key public green space in the urban metro Atlanta area.