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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trail Connected Chippewa to Itasca

Jerry Trout
Jerry Trout on new boardwalk (photo by JHY)

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November 19, 2009 at 3:20PM is now a historical moment. The North Country Trail is now completed between the Chippewa National Forest and Itasca State Park.

We drove the symbolic golden spike four and six tenths miles east of Itasca State Park. Ray Vlasak and his Bad Medicine folks started the trail east from Itasca before they were diverted to the Laurentian Lakes Chapter. The Itasca Moraine Chapter built west from the Chip until Ray left and then we worked both ways.

Thursday was the culmination of the effort that began in earnest September 13, 2001. John Leinen brought up a crew on that date from the metro area and the Itasca Moraine Chapter was formed the next spring. The Federal Recreation Trail Program, Minnesota Conservation Corps, National Park Service, Hubbard County, NCTA, MN DNR can all share in this moment but the true champions in this effort are the following people:
  • Arlen Damlo
  • Carter Hedeen
  • Bruce Johnson
  • Darrin Miller
  • Darrel Rodekuhr
  • Harvey Tjader
  • Jerry Trout
  • Ray Vlasak

NCT kiosk at Itasca State Park
new North Country Trail kiosk at Itasca State Park southern entrance. Plaque commemorates Rod MacRae, Minnesota NCT trail pioneer. (photo by JHY)

As I keyed the above names I was overcome with emotion. This was an effort spanning eight years that overflowed with work, fun, vision, and passion

Regards, Jerry

See Itasca Moraine Chapter of the NCTA


Tom Salwasser said...

Congratulations on a job well done to you Jerry and the rest of the crew. Thank you! I'm about half way through my westbound NCT hike from the eastern border of the Chip. It's great to know that when I hit the western border of the forest I won't run out of certified trail. I look forward to checking out your work. Fantastic!!!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I too, am very impressed. We bushwhacked most of this when we crossed the middle of Minnesota. Much better now!