This April, Congress approved bipartisan legislation, the North Country National Scenic Trail Adjustment Act, introduced by Vermont Representative Peter Welch that will extend the 4,600-mile North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) from Crown Point, New York into Addison County, linking it to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail via Vermont’s Long Trail.
“Vermont has unparalleled natural beauty that provides us with year-round opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors by trail,” Welch commented. “As hosts to both the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail, we have a rich tradition of trail hiking. Connecting the North Country Trail to the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail will provide Vermonters and tourists with even more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors through hiking, recreation, tourism, and economic development.”
The NCT is one of eleven national scenic trails, and some of them are within the National Park Service (NPS) such as the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. The legislation which included some adjustments to the North Country Trail took twenty years to get passed due to feasibility studies. The Senate (S.47) and House of Representatives (H.R. 2016) have passed, and the legislation has been signed by the President. The feasibility study has determined some of the route in Vermont, and there are some miles still to be decided.
The NCT is headquartered in Lowell, Michigan. The trail currently has trailheads in Lake Sakawea State Park in North Dakota and Crown Point in eastern New York.
In the 2013 Feasibility Study, the Preferred Option C route has been identified as a Corridor of Opportunity across central Addison County, VT and would receive Federal approval. The NPS would work with and assist public and private interests and landowners in establishing and managing segments of foot trails between Chimney Point and the Long Trail. Within this corridor, a trail way that is approximately 200-1000 feet or more in width would be protected for North Country purposes. A wider trail way may be necessary to incorporate significant features of a particular area. The corridor is intentionally designed wide enough to allow flexibility in working with cooperating landowners to site the trail since all participation is voluntary. The established corridor will define areas for purchase using public and private funding and will serve as advisory information for town and county land use planning.
This preferred Corridor of Opportunity is approximately 32 to 40 miles in length and 5-7 miles in width and runs in a generally east-southeasterly direction across Addison County. The trail would follow the Long Trail south to Maine Junction and the Appalachian Trail, an additional distance of approximately 25 miles.
The NCT goes through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and when the leg is finalized, it will extend into Vermont. For more information, visit https://northcountrytrail.org/. The contact information is866-HIKE-NCT or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Lohr lives in Lebanon, NH and writes about snow sports, outdoors, and sustainability. He is GET’s recreational editor.