Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Information about the North Country Trail

As promised, today I’ll post information about the North Country trail – which goes right through Grand Marais. The North Country Trail is America’s longest National Scenic Trail stretching 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota.

It links 7 states, 10 national forests, and more than 150 public lands. The North Country Trail Association (NCTA) unites individuals, affiliated trail groups, local chapters, corporate sponsors and others linked in support of building and maintaining the North Country National Scenic Trail, and telling its story. A not-for-profit membership organization of volunteers along the seven-state trail and elsewhere, the NCTA partners with the National Park Service in bringing the North Country Trail to local communities. NCTA chapters support members as they “adopt” and maintain a section of trail, sponsor hikes and other social events in local trail communities, and plan and conduct major trail-building projects.

The first long scenic hiking trail in this country was the Appalachian Trail, conceived by Benton MacKaye and others in the early 1900s. By the early 1960s, with that decade’s growing national momentum in conservation, environmental and outdoor recreation initiatives, establishing a national trails system become one of the priorities. The Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission Report in the early 60s strongly recommended that a more extensive trail system be constructed. The prospect was also supported by President Johnson’s “Natural Beauty Message” in 1965. As a result of this support as well as subsequent federal studies and reports favoring the idea, the National Trails System Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-543) was passed and enacted. In addition to establishing the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails as the first projects, the Act also called for further study on 14 similar potential projects, one of which was the North Country Trail. On March 5, 1980 congress passed legislation to add the North Country National Scenic Trail to the national trail system.

The Upper Peninsula’s portion of the North Country Trail includes prime scenery along large lakes, old growth forests, rugged hills and the Lake Superior shoreline, all set amid some of the most remote, uninhabited country found on the North Country Trail. From St. Ignace the trail heads through the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest towards Tahquamenon Falls State Park (home to the second largest waterfall in the eastern United States). Continuing west, the trail passes through Muskallonge Lake State Park and Lake Superior State Forest towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Within Pictured Rocks, enjoy the 43-mile Lakeshore Trail along the Lake Superior shore, one of the greatest hits of the entire North Country Trail. West of Pictured Rocks the trail enters the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest passing through public and private lands before reaching Marquette. West of Marquette the trail passes through Presque Isle City Park, McCormick tract Wilderness, Craig Lake State Park, Copper Country State Forest, Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness and cuts through historic copper mining sites near Old Victoria. Once entering the Ottawa National Forest segments run along the Black River canyon, towards the wild country of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The NCT leaves Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the community of Ironwood.

Based in Alger County in the eastern Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan, the Superior Shoreline Chapter is responsible for developing, maintaining, protecting and promoting our 120-mile section of the North Country National Scenic Trail. It spans from the mouth of the Two-Hearted River on the East to Rock River Road on the West, passing through Grand Marais, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Munising.

Contact Information:chapter email: ssc@northcountrytrail.org
chapter website: northcountrytrail.org/ssc
membership: Join the North Country Trail Association

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