Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Arrowhead Reroute- Guest Post

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Doug Boulee

a guest post by Doug Boulee, who recently hiked this section of the NCT

Preparing for my next section hike of the N.C.T., it was found that the Superior Hiking Trail is technically not part of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
When authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1980 the proposed route of the N.C.T. traveled from south of Duluth northwest toward Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Most of that original one hundred miles led through mosquito infested wetlands.

Over two decades of development, it became apparent to the builders, maintainers and hikers of the trail that the original pathway was flawed, passing through undesirable terrain, not suiting the scenic objective on which the trail was founded. The idea to use the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail and Kekekabic Trail known as the Arrowhead Reroute, was introduced about ten years ago by those
same creators and users. Eventually it became the sensible and assumed route.

There is now hope of introducing a bill to congress that would finally make the five hundred mile Arrowhead Reroute the official pathway of the North Country National Scenic Trail. I would not consider this a merger by any means. It will not be renamed or even relabeled. The Superior Hiking Trail will continue to be built, maintained and managed by the S.H.T. Association and its volunteers to the highest standards that I have just witnessed. In addition, the bill would provide greater resources and funding through the National Park Service.

Putting it simply (to me), this bill will provide a right of passage over an extremely beautiful and scenic pathway. The introduction of this bill, however, is nothing simple and will be a very long process in gathering the support, from both the U.S. Congress and the public to get it passed. For more information and current updates, go to and LIKE

This segment is mapped by the SHTA, Border Route Trail and Kekekabic Trail

See Superior Hiking Trail Association

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wisconsin Develops Statewide Brochure

segment of Wisconsin NCT brochure

from Todd McMahon

Last year at Canoecopia we handed out around 2500 National Park Service North Country Trail Brochures. Those brochures are nice, but they really don't have very much information on getting people involved with the local chapters of the NCT

What we really needed was a brochure that featured the all three of the Wisconsin Chapters of the NCT. After I met with Bill Menke on Tuesday, I started working on such a brochure. It is an 8.5 x 11 Tri-fold brochure.

The Brochure is designed to help recruit people to work on the trail and it highlights the 110 mile continuous section in Wisconsin.

This segment is on NCTA maps WI-01, 02, 03

See the Wisconsin Brochure (a pdf)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ham Lake Fire Took More than Trees

hikers on burned trail
trail area burned by Ham Lake fire in 2007(photo by JHY)

by jhy with an excerpt from the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

The Ham Lake Fire of May 2007 burned over 75,000 acres in both Canada and the United States in the Boundary Waters region of Minnesota. I burned across two sections of the Kekekabic Trail, part of the NCT.

The fire was accidentally started by life-long camper Steve Posniak. He escaped the fire itself, but became a victim when the Forest Service decided to prosecute him for causing the blaze. He eventually committed suicide, thus becoming the one life lost as a result of the Ham Lake Fire.

An article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine tells his poignant story. It begins:

"In preparation for his beloved annual spring canoe trip to northern Minnesota, all winter long Steve Posniak could be seen walking through the alleys of his Washington, D.C., neighborhood carrying 50-pound weights. As a stocky man in his 60s, Posniak wanted to be sure he was strong enough to portage alone, carrying gear on his back and a canoe overhead across miles of trails that connect more than a thousand lakes sprinkled throughout the Superior National Forest. "

Read the rest of the excellent article at the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contact Your Senator to Save Transportation Enhancement Money!

US capitol

from American Trails and other sources

Although the North Country Trail seeks to be mostly single-track woods trail, there are many places where our uses overlap with trails which are aided by these funds. One critical area is adding pedestrian walkways to bridges.

If you care about the NCT, please contact your Senator today! Voting could occur as early as Monday.

Last week, the House of Representatives dealt non-motorized transportation a serious blow by passing a bill that would eliminate Transportation Enhancements. This funding helps pay for things like multi-use trails, and the Safe Routes to School program.

Highway proponents have always complained about the requirement to cover other forms of transportation, other than powered vehicles. Media coverage of projects that seem frivolous hasn't helped.

Now, it's the Senate's turn. If you care about getting around for transportation and/or recreation without burning gas, please send an email today! Links below should make it as easy as possible.

The Senate's version of the transportation bill (MAP-21) does NOT include dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program. However, Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) will present an amendment to restore dedicated funding to RTP at the appropriate time. (The amendment could be offered as early as next week.) This would restore RTP authorization as a stand-alone program, as well as fund it at 2009 levels.

ACTION NEEDED: PLEASE CALL and ask your Senators to support Senator Klobuchar's amendment to restore dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program in the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21).


As a user-pay/user-benefit program, dedicated funding for the RTP should be included in the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21). Will you support the Klobuchar amendment to MAP-21, which restores dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program? This amendment makes the Senate bill consistent with language that is already in the House bill.

There is a similar campaign to support an amendment to protect Enhancements and Safe Routes to School sponsored by Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Cochran (R-MS) in the Senate transportation bill

See Talking Points
See Find Your Senator
See read more at American Hiking

Monday, January 23, 2012

Continental Divide Trail Alliance Disbands

Continental Divide Trail

from the Continental Divide Trail Alliance

Most of the National Scenic Trails are fortunate to have a non-profit organization that supports the governmental agency charged with managing their trail. For the North Country Trail, our managing agency is the National Park Service, and the organization is the North Country Trail Association.

Without these groups, which rally volunteers, prod legislators to notice trails, provide training and support, not to mention publicity, a trail may be in existence, but it is less well known, and less well cared for.

This week, sadly, the organization which supported the Continental Divide Trail, one of the "Triple Crown," (Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and CDT) has disbanded for lack of funds. The agency which oversees the CDT is the National Forest Service.

The CDTA writes:
Increasing pressures from development in the West, rising land costs, and challenges with the longstanding down cycle in the economy threaten the completion of the Trail. Despite the strong level of financial support from so many of you, overall contributions and other revenues in recent years have significantly declined. These revenues are the life blood of nonprofit organizations like the CDTA.

Consequently, the CDTA Board of Directors has made the very difficult and painful decision to cease operations of the CDTA. The financial condition of the organization has been unstable and deteriorating for a number of years. We have not been able to raise the necessary financial resources to sustain the continued operations of the organization.
If you love a trail, please support it financially in any amount you can. The existence of an organization is not a given, even for a federally authorized trail.

See Continental Divide Trail

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Help NCTA Win $100,000 in Marketing Services

Vote at Vote for $100K in Marketing Services for NCTA

Yes, you read that right. This is a voter-decided charity where ten organizations will win $100,000 each in marketing services. Most of the charities are Michigan based (that's where the offer comes from).

I appreciate the little win that you readers all just helped me get, but this vote is much more important, and you can potentially help nine other non-profits as well as the North Country Trail Association. If you are not from Michigan, don't pass it by. There are groups that should appeal to you. Many are animal rescues, women and youth support, faith-based organizations, aid to the disabled and homeless, and lots more.

We just ask that you choose North Country Trail Association as one of your votes!

The list is alphabetical, so you'll find us between New Hope Center for Grief Support, and Novi Athletic Boosters. Just scroll down!

Check ten boxes, then scroll to the bottom and hit Submit.

If there was ever a time to rouse yourself to action this is it! Great benefit to NCTA, and an easy voting process. You do have to enter your name and email, but that's all- no complex sign-up. Vote one time; you're done.

Vote at Vote for $100K in Marketing Services for NCTA

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winter Hike on the FLT/NCT

view from TenKate Bridge
view from TenKate Bridge (photo by Terry McConnell)

by Terry McConnell

What better way to end the calendar year than with a hike on the FLT? Earlier in hunting season I had "knocked off" the long road walk of M20 along Route 11 and W. River Road, and in early October I had hiked the eastern half of M19, returning to my car on Babcock Hollow Road along the orange blazed "Dabes diversion". That left the mostly-trail segment from River Road to the top of Virgil Mt still to be done. Together with the return trip, the leg would fall neatly into my 15-20 mile sweet spot, so I slung on my day pack and headed west and uphill from my car on River Road.

From River Road the trail heads steeply uphill along the scenic rim of a small river gorge, quickly to emerge smack in the back yard of somebody's house. "Sure hope they're members," I thought as I gingerly crept by within 5 feet of a picture window, trying my best to look like a normal part of the scenery. Further along I snapped a quick cell phone pic looking upstream at the Tenkate bridge, my shaky hands conspiring with the laws of optics to produce an interesting effect I never could have gotten with forethought.

Trail conditions can be summarized in one word: slippery! Above 1600 ft. there was a uniform 1-2 inch layer of slushy snow that required a kind of stiff-legged strut to navigate any grade steeper than 5%, and which made side hill traverses dicey and dangerous. On downhill stretches through Tuller Hill SF I worked to perfect a primitive form of 'skiing' on hiking boots made possible by this slick layer. The speed gained thereby partially made up for the slow-going, but nevertheless I emerged on Carson Road a good hour behind schedule.

Read the rest of Terry's interesting adventure at Finger Lakes Trail email group, and consider joining to always know what's going on.

This segment is on FLT map M19

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chief Noonday Chapter's Huge Cleanup Project of 2011

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Jason Buckner, left, and Mary Rebert work to clear tree limbs blocking a path on the North County Trail near Battle Creek (photo by Aaron Ogg)

based on a news article in the Grand Rapids Press

As a result of a bad blowdown in May of 2011, the Chief Noonday Chapter has been working all year to clean up the North Country Trail through Kimball Pines.

Wind gusts between 75 and 100 miles per hour sheared the tops off dozens, if not hundreds, of trees during the Memorial Day weekend storm, and the entire character of the trail was changed. However, the volunteers were primarily concerned with making it hikeable once again.

This segment is on NCTA map MI-02

See Chief Noonday Chapter of the NCTA

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Royal River Bluff
Royal River bluff from the Border Route on the Minnesota Arrowhead (photo by jhy)

received from Ed Solstad

The Border Route (northern portion of the Minnesota Arrowhead North Country Trail) is doing well in comparison to the other trails, being No. 2 in use for 2009 and No. 1 in 2010 & 2011. In 2009 the Kekekabic Trail was No. 1. The Kek is also part of the NCT, just to the west of the Border Route.

The Forest Service recently issued this report of all Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness trail entry points permits.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Kek had 76, 51, 45 permits issued, respectively.

The Border Route, for the same three years was 42,54, and 55.

Ed says, "Thanks go out to all of you that have helped in our maintenance efforts. Without your dedication, the trail wouldn't be what is is today."

See the full Trail Use Report (an xls file)

This segment is in the Border Route guide

See Border Route Trail

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wisconsin Eagle Scout Clears NCT

based on a news story in the Northland News Center

Jonathon Gilbertson of Ashland, Wisconsin recently received his Eagle Scout award in a ceremony with two other boys. For his project Jonathan cleared the North Country Trail in one of the Chequamegon Forest's designated wilderness areas. (Could be Porcupine Lake or Rainbow Lake- the article did not specify)

"All the trees we cut out we used a cross cut saw and a hand saw. The brush was cut with little clippers and we had to haul it back by ourselves." said Gilbertson.

This segment is on NCTA map WI-02

See Chequamegon Chapter of the NCTA