WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced Friday her bipartisan legislation to improve the North Country Scenic Trail route and boost state tourism passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The trail—which currently extends from New York to North Dakota—was never built along certain sections in Minnesota because the current route included wetlands that are difficult to build through, which raised conservation concerns. The bipartisan North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act would reroute the trail to avoid wetlands by incorporating 400 miles of existing hiking trails in the Minnesota Arrowhead region of the Boundary Waters and North Shore of Lake Superior a news release from Klobuchar's office said.
"Including the Arrowhead region on the North Country Scenic Trail will boost tourism, benefit local businesses, and allow people to share in our state's natural beauty all while conserving our wetlands," said Klobuchar. "With the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's passage of our bipartisan legislation, we are one step closer to it becoming law."
The North Country National Scenic Trail is the nation's longest hiking trail, currently running 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota and passing through 12 national forests. The trail was created by Congress in 1980 and has been largely built by volunteers.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan D-Minn., has introduced a companion version of the bill in the House.
A provision based on the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act was included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, which passed the Senate in April of 2016.