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, February 21, 2011

NCTA Unveils New Website

NCTA web site home page

received from Andrea Ketchmark

The new and improved is online. Check it out and you will find a new look, more detailed trail information, better volunteer resources and greater functionality and navigability. Best of all, we see this as the next step in building a seamless national and chapter web presence, owned and updated by the membership, with huge potential for member and chapter engagement.

With the leadership of Matt Rowbotham, this process has engaged the entire staff, our Board of Directors and many chapter leaders and volunteers along the way. We hope you like what you see but the great thing about this new system is the way it provides for endless customization and the ability to be as flexible as we need to be. It is not a finished product in the traditional sense but rather a dynamic tool for communication that can meet our needs as quickly as those needs change.

Pay special attention to the new Chapter/Affiliate/Partner portal pages, a new exciting feature to insure you get the recognition you deserve on the national level. We will be contacting you all in the coming months in an effort to gather your thoughts and ideas to make these pages even better.

So for now, take a few minutes to explore and all of its new features. Let us know what you think, what you like and what else you would like to see. And please help us get the word out by including an announcement in your newsletter or at your next meeting.

We hope you enjoy it!

Andrea Ketchmark
Director of Trail Development

See North Country Trail Association

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Calhoun County Trailway Possible Route Needs Support

hikers on the North Country Trail

by Tom Garnett and Mick Hawkins, of the Chief Noonday Chapter, NCTA

The Calhoun County Board of Commissioners will decide soon the fate of the Calhoun County Trailway in Emmett Township on the east side of Battle Creek, and with it part of the fate of the North Country Trail. Very likely the CCTA trail would replace pretty much all of the roadwalk currently in place from the east boundary of Battle Creek down to Historic Bridge Park in Emmett Township.

A Master Plan was completed in 2006, and grants have been obtained in the past two years through the work of the Calhoun Country Trailway Alliance (CCTA) to build 5.3 miles of multi-use off-road trail connecting the Battle Creek Linear Path with Historic Bridge Park through the county parks of The Ott Biological Preserve, Kimball Pines, and Historic Bridge Park.

Beyond this first segment, planning is being developed to take this trail all the way to Homer, connecting with Marshall, and Albion on the way. This will be a great extension of trails within the area.

After several Commission votes in support of the trailway in recent years, an opposition group, Friends of the Ott, have been successful in creating some "doubt" particularly in the minds of the "new" commissioners. The trailway is one part of the CCTA's vision of a trail across Calhoun County and the State of Michigan's vision of a trail connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

The Chief Noonday Chapter of the North Country Trail Association has been much involved in the CCTA project from the get-go. Chief Noonday obtained funding for early feasibility studies for the project. See map on Chief Noonday site that shows approximately where the CCTA corridor would go.

Contact the Calhoun County Trailway Alliance at

This segment is on NCTA map MI-02

See Chief Noonday Chapter of the NCTA

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Promoting the NCT and Tahquamenon Heritage

Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls (photo by jhy)

by Kay Kujawa, excerpted from the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore newsletter, February 2011

Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the North Country Trail Association representatives, Stan and Kay Kujawa, attended the January 19th Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Route (TSHR) Committee meeting. The TSHR was designated by Michigan legislature and is recognized by MDOT. The general purpose of the TSHR Council is to enhance and promote the recreation, history and cultural opportunities of the Eastern UP.

The North Country Trail crosses M-123 just north of the Tahquamenon River Mouth bridge, meanders through the Tahquamenon Falls State Park and crosses M-123 again just west of the Upper Falls Road.

The economic benefits of a community having a National Scenic Trail nearby can be profitable, if the trail is properly maintained, improved and promoted. Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore joined the TSHR committee to promote awareness of the NCT and to inform communities of the potential economic possibilities.

The NCT also provides health and recreation opportunities for local residents as well as guests and visitors to the region.

This segment is on NCTA map MI-08

For more about the TSHR, contact Nathan Frazer
See Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the NCTA

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Guidebook Author Named

Ron Strickland
Ron Strickland (photo by jhy)

received from Andrea Ketchmark, Director of Trail Development, NCTA

Many of you know that, with the generous support of the National Park Service, the NCTA has been able to embark on the development of a Guide to the NCNST. We've contracted with Ron Strickland to be its author; among many other qualifications (including getting the Pacific Northwest Trail established and spearheading the Sea-to-Sea Route) Ron is well-known as a guidebook author.

Contact Andrea Ketchmark