The North Country National Scenic Trail Extension Plan
The expansion of the North Country National Scenic Trail is slowly but surely turning into a reality. The overall plan is to create a continuous footpath running from central North Dakota all the way to Maine. Currently, 2,000 miles of the 4,700-mile trail are on roads. The project has been ongoing for years and still has a long road ahead. (Literally)
Where Will the North Country Trail Connect?
The authorization will extend the North Country Trail from its present eastern endpoint in Crown Point, NY, into Vermont. This will then connect it the Long Trail in Vermont, where hikers will have the chance to continue onto the AT. There are already sections of trail in Vermont that can be used to create the 40-mile link to the Long Trail; it’s just a matter of putting in the time and work to finish the project. These sections include the land trust’s 19-mile Trail around Middlebury, and other, shorter hiking trails in the surrounding area. The trail winds through many different communities, giving hikers a sense of the dimensions of life in the North Country. The trail is diverse and not as populated as many other scenic trails in the country, namely due to the length of the trail being considerably longer than the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail or the ~2,190-mile Appalachian Trail. As of today, only a dozen people have completed the entire trail.
Current Trail Status
The latest bill that passed the US House of Representatives authorizes adding more than 400 miles of trails in Minnesota to the North Country National Scenic Trail. The difficult part has been getting everyone on board with the task at hand. The land trust has been working with the North Country Trail Association to identify public and conserved land to be used, as well as identify the sections of land where permission from private landowners will be mandatory for the project to begin. When the trail is all set to begin being built, it is said that volunteers will be the ones to step forward and make this small dream become a reality.
Find more info on the North Country Trail here.
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