Remember the Removal Bike Ride receives $25K National Park Foundation grant

June 7, 2017

The 2017 Remember the Removal riders stand in front of Blythe Ferry, Tennessee, along the northern route of the Trail of Tears. The site, which is marked with a National Park Service historical marker, was the last piece of homeland Cherokees stood before being removed to Oklahoma.The 2017 Remember the Removal riders stand in front of Blythe Ferry, Tennessee, along the northern route of the Trail of Tears. The site, which is marked with a National Park Service historical marker, was the last piece of homeland Cherokees stood before being removed to Oklahoma.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The 2017 Remember the Removal Bike Ride recently received a 2017 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation.

The $25,000 grant will help cover costs of the tribe’s annual bicycle ride, which includes 13 Cherokee Nation cyclists riding 1,000 miles across seven states, retracing the northern route of the Trail of Tears that their ancestors were forced to make on foot more than 175 years ago.

The Trail of Tears route is considered a National Historic Trail by the National Park Service. In total, 21 national parks or park projects received a grant this year.

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passes through nine states and commemorates the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in the Southeast to live in Indian Territory. Cherokees were forced to relocate by foot, horse, wagon or steamboat in 1838-1839.

As part of the grant, Remember the Removal cyclists will stop at the following sites along the ride, which started June 4 and ends June 22, to share the history of the program and educate the public about the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation, known as the Trail of Tears.

• Wyman Elementary School in Rolla, Missouri, on June 15.

• Pea Ridge National Military Park, 15930 E Hwy 62, Garfield, Arkansas, on June 20.

The cyclists also stopped in Charleston, Tennessee, on June 5 to promote the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

“Cherokee Nation is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the National Park Foundation to bring heightened awareness to the Remember the Removal Bike Ride. Our annual event pays homage to the darkest chapter in the tribe’s history and enables our young Cherokees to always remember where they came from and the strength of their ancestors,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Because the Trail of Tears routes are preserved and well-marked, the public can see the historic places firsthand and retrace the journey through several national parks across multiple states.”

Now entering its ninth successful year, the multifaceted Active Trails program enriches national parks; strengthens relationships between parks, community members and organizations; and supports individual growth and well-being.

“National parks offer great spaces to build community. Whether it is admiring a dark night sky, walking in the footsteps of your ancestors, or taking part in a fun outdoor challenge, our Active Trails grants make it possible for people from all backgrounds to engage in activities that bring us together in national parks,” said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National Park Foundation.

Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted nearly $3.8 million through its Active Trails program.

“As the National Park Service enters its second century of service, connecting more people to parks, trails and heritage areas builds on the success of our centennial and prepares us for the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System in 2018,” said Rita Hennessy, the National Park Service National Trails System program manager. “These grants will encourage new generations of visitors to build their own connections to America’s remarkable places, where they can be active and inspired.”

Follow the Remember the Removal Bike Ride Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/removal.ride/.

The entire list of the 2017 Active Trails recipients can be found at https://www.nationalparks.org/our-work/programs/active-trails.