The North Country Trail – which currently extends from New York to North Dakota – was never built along certain sections in Minnesota because the current route includes wetlands that are difficult to build through, which raised conservation concerns
Lawmakers reintroduced legislation, which would reroute the trail to avoid Minnesota wetlands by incorporating 400 miles of existing hiking trails in the Boundary Waters and North Shore of Lake Superior; bill would also extend the trail to Vermont to connect it with the Appalachian Trail
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) along with U.S. Representatives Rick Nolan and Erik Paulsen have renewed their efforts to improve the North Country Scenic Trail route in Minnesota and boost state tourism. The trail – which currently extends from New York to North Dakota – was never built along certain sections in Minnesota because the current route includes wetland areas that are difficult to build through and raise conservation concerns. The lawmakers reintroduced legislation that would revise the authorized trail route to avoid these wetland areas by including existing hiking trails in the Minnesota Arrowhead region of the Boundary Waters and North Shore of Lake Superior. The bill would also extend the trail into Vermont in order to connect it to the Appalachian Trail, which would allow hikers to journey the entire 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is also helping lead the bill in the Senate and Nolan is leading the bill in the House.
“From the Boundary Waters to Lake Superior, Minnesota’s Arrowhead region has some of the most beautiful trails in the country,” Klobuchar said. “By finally completing the North Country Scenic Trail route through Minnesota, this legislation would boost tourism, benefit local businesses, and allow people to share in our state’s natural beauty.”
“Completing the North Country Scenic Trail means it can be enjoyed—by families, hikers, and those visiting Minnesota—for generations to come,” Franken said. “Our bipartisan legislation will help promote conservation while, at the same time, strengthening the economy of the region and attracting tourists from all over the world.”
“I’m proud to be an original author of this bill to boost our multi-billion dollar tourism industry and create jobs throughout the Northland while conserving wetlands and enhancing the experience for the thousands of hikers who travel these trails today,” said Nolan. “In Minnesota, we live for the great out-of-doors. With the inclusion of the Arrowhead reroute into the national system, we honor the contributions of past trailmakers, ensure future generations benefit from their hard work, and continue the legacy of responsible land stewardship.”
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.