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North Country National Scenic Trail - Connecting Remer to Ely Through Volunteer Help

North Country Scenic Trail was designated by Congress in 1980 and is the longest National ScenicTrail at 4600 miles. 

It’s almost as long as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails combined.  It’s administrated by the National Park Service but is built, maintained and protected by volunteers. 

  • The NCTA is celebrating passage of the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment legislation back in March as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.  We worked on passing that for 12 years with the help of Rep. Pete Stauber and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
  • This legislation did three things:
    • Made the “Arrowhead Re-route” in northeastern official.  This means that the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail, and Kekekabic Trails are now official parts of the NCT.  It also means that new trail is needed in between the Chippewa National Forest near Remer and the Kekekabic Trail up by Ely – a.k.a. the “Big Gap area”.
    • Extended the NCT into Vermont to meet up with the Appalachian Trail.
    • Updated the NCT’s length to 4600 miles from 3200.  Mapping has improved in the last 40 years!
    • The “Big Gap area” is currently a priority of the NCTA and that is why there are a couple events in Hibbing this weekend.

The NCTA’s Arrowhead Chapter is the local volunteer group based in Grand Rapids.  They are eager to build new trail and are always looking for more people interested in the outdoors to get involved.  Check out their Facebook page

Events coming up this Friday and Saturday in Hibbing and at McCarthy Beach State Park:

On Friday night, they will gather at BoomTown Woodfire Hibbing from 6-8pm for a Hikers’ Social. At this event, there will be information on the NCT, provide opportunities for locals to share their ideas for where the NCT should and shouldn’t go, and share information on volunteer opportunities. This event is jointly sponsored by Mesabi Outdoor Adventures, ReGen, IRC Adventure Club, and the NCTA. On Saturday morning meet at McCarthy Beach State Park for a guided 4-mile hike of the Park’s Hiking Club Trail. Hikers should meet at 9am at the parking area off of CR-5 at the intersection with Ski Trail Rd. The NCTA hopes that the NCT will be able to be routed through Scenic, McCarthy Beach, Soudan/Lake Vermilion, and Bear Head Lake State Parks in the “Big Gap area.”

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.