PORT GAMBLE — The National Park Service has selected the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails as national Trail of the Month for December.
The announcement was made in the National Park Service's online monthly newsletter and includes links to the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Map, Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau and the North Kitsap Trails websites.
The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails, which includes nearly 370 miles of shoreline and 56 popular stops, is a result of thousands of volunteer hours and collaboration between the North Kitsap Trails Association, Kitsap Peninsula Visitor Convention Bureau, local Port districts, and Kitsap County.
The Kitsap Peninsula VCB and North Kitsap Trails Association created a comprehensive region-wide water trails map with information about routes, shore access, services, and amenities. According to John Kuntz, owner of Olympic Outdoors Center, nearly 7,000 paddlers visit the Kitsap Peninsula each year and generate $1.7 million in economic development and support local businesses.
"The National Park Service 'Trail of the Month' designation demonstrates how important eco-recreation/tourism attractions are to our local economy," Kuntz said.
The visitor bureau is using the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails program to educate the users and the public about the importance of the region's natural environment and to support local and state efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound. The map is free and available online.
The visitor bureau, Olympic Outdoor Center and other local groups will host the region-wide Annual Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Festival in early June 2013. For more information, contact the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau at (800) 373-0580, email at email@example.com.