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, raising conservation concerns
Legislation 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 also extends the trail to Vermont to connect it with the Appalachian Trail
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 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 raises conservation concerns. Klobuchar and Leahy’s legislation revises the authorized trail route to avoid these wetland areas by including existing hiking trails in the Minnesota Arrowhead region in 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 and would allow hikers to journey the entire 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont.
“This common sense legislation will use existing scenic trails to make sure Minnesota can finally be a part of the North Country Scenic Trail,” Klobuchar said. “Including the Arrowhead region on the trail will boost tourism, benefit local Minnesota businesses and allow people to share in our state’s natural beauty all while conserving our wetlands.”
“The Green Mountains are truly a national treasure, and I’m glad that this proposal will allow more hikers to enjoy the beauty of Vermont,” Leahy said. “As an avid hiker myself, I’m excited that Vermont has the opportunity to host the connection of two of our country’s historic trails.”
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.
Original cosponsors to the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act include Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Reps. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced companion legislation in the House, which is cosponsored by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tim Walz (D-MN), and Thomas Petri (R-WI).