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July-September, 2018

The Magazine of the North Country Trail Association

Volume 37, No. 3

north star

Memories from the Annual Celebration Hike Stories from Michigan and North Dakota National Trails Day Events Along the NCT


Joan Young

National Board of Directors Joan Young and Marie Altenau discovered a newly hatched Luna Moth beside the Trail after Celebration. Read more on page 9.

In This Issue NCTA Welcomes Kate Lemon...............3 Extraordinary Landowners Ron and Grace Hutchinson....................6 Reroute Legislation Passes the House.......7 Blue Blaze Experience............................8 Blazing the Trail.......................................8 Luna Moth.................................................9 Celebration 2018 at Trailfest...............10 Forest Bathing on the NCT....................14 Learning a Thing or Two.........................16 National Trails Day 2018........................18 A Prairie Hike..........................................20 Hike 50 and Hike 100 Challenges..........22 Long Distance Hiker Awards..................23 The Dakota Challenge.............................24 Next Generation Coalition......................25 Meet Delaini Disher, Intern................25 A Major Funding Boost..........................26 Passages...................................................27

Columns Trailhead.............................................3 From the Executive Director...............4 NPS Corner........................................5

Departments Where in the Blue Blazes?..................14 Next Deadline for Submissions.........22

About the Cover:

This rocky landscape is along the route of the Buckeye Trail/North Country Trail in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, and was among the favorite hikes during Celebration in April. Photo: Joan Young.

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The North Star

Staff

Valerie Bader Director of Trail Development vbader@northcountrytrail.org David Cowles Director of Development dcowles@northcountrytrail.org Matt Davis Regional Trail Coordinator, Minnesota/North Dakota mdavis@northcountrytrail.org Tarin Hasper Annual Fund Coordinator thasper@northcountrytrail.org Andrea Ketchmark Executive Director aketchmark@northcountrytrail.org Kate Lemon Marketing and Communications Coordinator klemon@northcountrytrail.org Laura Lindstrom Financial Administrator llindstrom@northcountrytrail.org Nicole Murphy Administrative Assistant nmurphy@northcountrytrail.org Bill Menke Regional Trail Coordinator, Wisconsin bmenke@northcountrytrail.org Alison Myers Administrative Assistant amyers@northcountrytrail.org Matt Rowbotham GIS Coordinator mrowbotham@northcountrytrail.org Kenny Wawsczyk Regional Trail Coordinator, Michigan kwawsczyk@northcountrytrail.org

Ruth Dorrough, President (585) 354-4147 · dorroughcm@gmail.com Jaron Nyhof, First VP, At Large Rep. (616) 786-3804 · jnyhof1@gmail.com

Lynda Rummel, VP East, New York Rep. (315) 536-9484 · ljrassoc@roadrunner.com Tim Mowbray, VP West (715) 378-4320 · tmowbray@earthlink.net Larry Pio, Secretary (269) 327-3589 · ncta.secretary@gmail.com Tom Moberg, Immediate Past President (701) 271-6769 · tfmoberg@gmail.com Josh Berlo, Minnesota Rep. (574) 532-4183 · joshberlo@gmail.com Mike Chapple, Treasurer (574) 274-0151 · mike@chapple.org Jack Cohen, Pennsylvania Rep. (724) 234-4619 · jcohen@zoominternet.net Jerry Fennell, At Large Rep. (262) 787-0966 · jeroldvfennell@hotmail.com Dennis Garrett, Pennsylvania Rep. (724) 827-2350 · dcgcag@gmail.com Cheryl Kreindler, At Large Rep. (313) 850-8731 · ckreindl@ch2m.com Derrick Passe, Minnesota Rep. (651) 470-0432 · derrickpasse@gmail.com Paul Spoelstra, Michigan Rep. (616) 890-7518 · spoelymi@comcast.net Jan Ulferts Stewart, North Dakota Rep. (701) 318-5180 · janustewart@gmail.com Mark VanHornweder, Wisconsin Rep. (218) 390-0858 · mvanhorn74@yahoo.com Jeff Van Winkle, Michigan Rep. (616) 540-2693 · rvanwink@gmail.com Steve Walker, Ohio Rep. (330) 652-5623 · nilesprinting@gmail.com Quinn Wright, New York Rep. (716) 826-1939 · wrightquinn4@gmail.com

North Star Staff Irene Szabo, Mostly Volunteer Editor, (585) 494-0307 or treeweenie@aol.com Peggy Falk, Graphic Design Lorana Jinkerson, Becky Heise, Joan Young, Tom Gilbert, Duane Lawton, Kate Lemon, Editorial Advisory Committee The North Star, Fall issue, Vol. 37, Issue 3, is published by the North Country Trail Association, a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, 229 East Main Street, Lowell, MI 49331. The North Star is published quarterly for promotional and educational purposes and as a benefit of membership in the Association. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the North Country Trail Association.


Trail Head

NCTA Welcomes Kate Lemon

Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jen Emigh

Ruth Dorrough President

Our Legacy

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y term as NCTA Board President comes to an end at the next Board meeting. Plans are in place to ensure a smooth transition. Walking the NCT has given me a broad “boots-on-the-ground” perspective of the organization. From the presidential perch, I have gained a more expansive governance view. This complex organization operates in an even more intricate, ever changing environment. There are times when I think I have a clear organizational picture. Suddenly it shifts or a new development intrudes.

One thing is crystal clear. If we are to succeed with this bold mission of building, maintaining, and promoting 4,600 miles of trail, we need at all levels to be aware of potential distractions and maintain a laser focus on our mission. This is an exciting time to be a part of the NCTA. Enthusiasm abounds. It is vital that at every level we ensure that this energy is channeled to our purpose as an organization. If not tethered to mission, even the best intended enthusiastic initiative has the potential to dilute the identity and strength of the organization. The task at hand is Herculean. The resources are limited. It is vital that we keep them focused on our reason for being. Keep up the good work. Stay focused. It’s been an honor. Our vision for the North Country National Scenic Trail is that of the premier footpath of national significance, offering a superb experience for hikers and backpackers in a permanently protected corridor, traversing and interpreting the richly diverse environmental, cultural, and historic features of the northern United States. Dan Dorrough

Our previous Marketing and Communications Coordinator Amelia Rhodes left North Country Trail Association this spring to accept her “dream job” as Senior Editor/Program Manager at GEMS Girls' Club. We've accomplished an incredible amount under Amelia's lead and the awareness of the Trail and NCTA have grown significantly. In her parting words to our community, Amelia shared: “Congratulations to you all, and thank you. These successes have little to do with me. They are a tribute to the power of this community, and what we accomplish together when we act as one in mission, vision, and message. Keep going! Great things are happening across the NCTA, and countless victories lie ahead." Thank you Amelia and best of luck to you. Since then, Kate Lemon joined the NCTA team in May as the new Marketing and Communications Coordinator. She is a native Michigander who moved to the Grand Rapids area this year with her husband Jake, their son Guthrie, and their dog, Indy. Prior to joining the NCTA team, Kate was a graphics specialist in a research grant proposal development office at Penn State University. She also worked with environmental nonprofits and state government in Colorado, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). Kate is responsible for social media management, website content such as blog posts, and media relations. Reach her at klemon@northcountrytrail.org. Kate cares deeply about public land accessibility and conservation, so you can often find her outside, advocating for and enjoying our spaces: hiking, skiing, paddling, camping, and fly fishing. Having lived elsewhere for the past decade, she is excited to rediscover Michigan and log some miles on the NCT with her family.

Ruth on the New England Trail in June of this year.

www.northcountrytrail.org

July-September 2018

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From the Executive Director Andrea Ketchmark

On The Path To Engagement

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re you a hiker, volunteer, member, donor, all of the above? What brought you to the North Country Trail? What were you looking for and did the Trail or NCTA help you find it? In your answers to the above lies the answer to a bigger question we’ve been asking for decades: How do we get more people involved in our work to build, maintain, promote and protect the North Country National Scenic Trail? First let’s examine what we mean by involvement. For many, the term “member” is synonymous with volunteers and that’s what we value above all else in an organization that relies so heavily on volunteers to accomplish our mission. I hear every day that we need more people (and younger and stronger people) to do the work on the ground. There is no doubt about that but when we look deeper we see that everyone connects with us in a different way, each of which has a place in accomplishing our mission.

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The North Star

Invite and Engage, Empower and Encourage Invite: The number one reason people don’t donate or volunteer is that they weren’t asked. We’re working on a new Marketing Strategy to invite more people to join us in our work and our new Next Generation Outreach Intern is tasked with getting a younger audience involved with our community. Simply put, invite people to hike and invite hikers to get involved. Engage: How we get people involved after we invite them is an important step. We’ve got to provide opportunities (events, work days, etc.), make the information readily accessible, communicate how to get involved and clearly communicate expectations. Tiered off of the Marketing Strategy, we’ll be working with our volunteers to develop a Chapter Outreach Plan to get more new people engaged on the local level. Empower: We all do our jobs better when we have the right tools, whether it’s a pulaski or the plans to build a bridge or the right promotional materials. This year, we’re working with the National Park Service on a revision of the Handbook for Design, Construction and Maintenance and releasing a new Crew Leader training program: two programs that will give you the skills needed to feel confident doing the work. Encourage: We also do our jobs better when someone is standing beside us encouraging us to keep going, acknowledging that we are making a difference. We hope to recognize our volunteers and others in our community in new and exciting ways by telling more in-depth stories about those who inspire us with the work they do. Not everyone can give at the same levels, and although we should always celebrate the extraordinary, we can’t forget the role the little things play in making us a success. You’ll read about journeys along this path in every issue of the North Star. This issue it’s hearing Lisa Snook talk about how she and Barb went from novice hikers to “forest bathers,” how Ron and Grace Hutchinson came to host the Trail on their land, and what the Trail has meant to Glen and Steve along their journey of life. By recognizing the many ways people are connecting with us and the little things that led them to being engaged more deeply, we’ll be able to grow and nurture our community beyond our wildest dreams.

Amelia Rhodes

Who Are We? We are trail users and we exist because of trail users. Not all trail builders hike and not all hikers build trail, but most of us can identify with the fact that this is one of the most sacred pieces of our mission. We work hard to provide not just a Trail but the experience, one that can be life changing, to as many people as will take it. In turn, we hope that they venture into life a little better off and that they tell their stories which will inspire others to use the Trail and so on. We are volunteers. We build and maintain the Trail (no small feat) but we also promote the Trail, develop new sections, protect them by working with private landowners, and do the everyday administration that comes with running effective Chapters of our organization and even the organization as a whole. Our Board of Directors are all volunteers, our Chapter Leadership are volunteers, every trail adopter, camp cook, newsletter writer and hike leader...all volunteers. We are donors who support the work, funding everything from the operation of the organization to trail work on the ground. Family, work life and geography are just a few reasons why many people can’t give their time. Those who don’t have the time to give might have the means to support us because they believe in the importance of our work in recreation and conservation. We are staff of NCTA and partner organizations and land management agencies with a passion for our mission and a dedication to those we support. This is not just a job. It’s the way we chose to live our passion every day.

Together, it’s our job to grow and sustain our community to meet the needs of tomorrow. To do this, we’re studying what we’re calling the Path to Engagement: how trail users, members, donors, and volunteers come to us, what needs they are seeking to fill and what they are willing to give. By defining the level of commitment people have at different points in their life, we can better prepare ourselves to invite and engage, empower and encourage all who wish to support our work. Here is a quick look at what that means.


National Park Service

Protecting the North Country Trail

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ver the past five years of my tenure here, I was seeing a lot of trail built with just a handshake: understandably, a necessary condition in many, many cases. I always worried though, about the permanence of those trail segments. With a change of mind of the property owner, all the work done by the volunteers could go down the drain, not to mention new trail having to be located and built to replace what was lost. Build it. Move it. Build it. Move it. Ad Infinitum. Sort of a Sisyphusian nightmare. While the topic of this article won’t solve this issue, it explains how, slowly but surely, we are adding to our arsenal of methods that will protect the route of the Trail across the “North Country.” Here we will briefly share with you the successes of present and near future National Park Service acquisitions, and our NPS/NCTA proposed structured process for trail protection and land acquisition. Back in 2009 Congress approved a willing seller acquisition authority, with the opportunity to compete for acquisition funding via the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Without getting into the bureaucratic details of the process (you’re welcome) each year we (NPS) have the opportunity to submit proposals to LWCF. Working with NCTA, we have dutifully submitted our proposals while not putting a lot of faith in actually being awarded the funds. Well, our faith has been restored ten-fold. Around 2012 we were awarded funds that were applied to the acquisition of the eighty acre Hutchinson property in Augusta, Michigan. This parcel is a critical field and forest road-to-road link near the W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest. The sale closed last fall and we are in the process of performing a boundary survey, natural and cultural resource compliance, a compendium (rules and regulations for the property), restoration of the fallow field as prairie, and developing construction documents for an improved trailhead. Then once

Mark Weaver Superintendent, NCT this initial work is completed, next comes the maintenance, management and monitoring program, mowing, trail and facility maintenance, prescribed prairie burns, etc. Tons of thanks to Chris Loudenslager for coordinating this juggling act. A second parcel in northern Wisconsin was purchased this past December, two hundred forested acres that will inch us ever closer to a permanently protected state-wide route. Once we take a short breather from the whirlwind activity of the Hutchinson property, we’ll embark upon a similar process in Wisconsin. Chris, Luke, and I were quite happy with these two NPS acquisitions and the associated tasks that fell upon us. All was manageable. Then Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations hit. Congress approved funds for the acquisition of a large parcel in the UP of Michigan, significantly larger and more complex than the first two parcels. We’re early in this process and as things progress we’ll keep you all informed. But for now, we need to let our NPS realty specialists do their thing with the potential seller. I’m hoping that next year I can announce another significant segment of the NCT as fully protected. Given all this activity in land protection and acquisition, we are moving to create a more structured, Trail-wide means to identify and prioritize parcels for protection. We are working closely with NCTA to make sure that we perform an objective inventory of possible acquisitions. Highest priority parcels would then be submitted for competitive LWCF funding. You, our cherished volunteers, are the eyes and ears in the field, so please keep your Regional Trail Coordinators apprised of properties that should be considered for protection and we’ll get them folded into this nascent process. Keep in mind as well, that NCTA is also engaged with actively protecting the route of the Trail as evidenced by its partnership with the West Wisconsin Land Trust to acquire the Oronto Bay property by Iron County. Together, NPS and NCTA are able to cast a pretty broad net when it comes to protecting our beloved Trail. While it won’t happen tomorrow, eventually we WILL see North Country Trail permanently protected from end to end.

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Brandon Mulnix

www.northcountrytrail.org

Martha Wohlford

Outstanding Private Landowners RON and GRACE HUTCHINSON This family has been a heavyduty supporter of the Chief Noonday Chapter section since the very beginning, hosting trail meetings and the beginning Trail, lending farm equipment to help build the Trail, creating a parking area, and agreeing to signage limiting Trail usage to walkers only. Best of all, in 2017 they also became, with son David and his wife Gloria, the first family to sell property to the National Park Service for the NCT, despite considerable interest in the view from their hilltop by others.

Corner


Extraordinary Landowners—Ron and Grace Hutchinson By Dave Cornell Martha Wohlford

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t the beginning of the Chief Noonday Chapter, before even our Chapter name was selected in May 1997, Ron and Grace Hutchinson were there as Charter Members, offering the chance for the Trail to cross their property. Pat Allen, then Executive Director of the North Country Trail Association, encouraged the formation of a chapter for the counties of Barry, Kalamazoo, and Calhoun. Ten members are required in order to form a chapter and it was only after Ron and Grace agreed to be charter chapter members that that number was reached. They have been members of our Chapter ever since. In addition to being educators, psychologists, researchers, and builders, Ron and Grace Hutchinson were for many years engaged in farming. They owned a large cow/calf operation near Augusta, Michigan. Ron was recognized as an early researcher/ farmer developing high-density rotation grazing for cattle by Michigan Farmer. As part of the farming operation Ron and Grace owned a large parcel of land fronting on Augusta Drive, a wonderful location for our Trail because it affords a view high over the Kalamazoo River Valley that is awesome. The driveway located on Augusta Drive was an ideal location for a parking lot, which Ron and Grace offered to clear an area for and surface with gravel. The Chapter then constructed and installed kiosks, a picnic table, a gate and a stile. Years ago, the Interurban Railroad and the New York Central Railroad had a junction adjacent to Augusta Drive located on the property owned by the Hutchinsons. This junction is long gone, as is the Interurban, but the route is still visible. When acquiring the farm, the Hutchinsons had acquired railroad paraphernalia

that was used on the Interurban line. The Hutchinsons presented to the Chapter the main line controller which is now installed adjacent to the Trail. Additionally, they loaned old photos of the location from that period, copies of which are displayed on kiosks at the site. After consenting to the location of the Trail on their land, Ron and Grace worked with Chapter members as well as Township and County officials to secure consents from other landowners. The Hutchinsons own a lumberyard and saw mill in Augusta. Ron and Grace have donated lumber to the Chapter on several occasions and in addition have provided the Chapter with railroad ties from other property they own. Whenever the Chapter needed heavy-duty equipment for post hole drilling, brush hogging, or hauling materials, we knew we could always approach the Hutchinsons. Years ago, their son Dave Hutchinson and his wife Gloria became co-owners of this property. In 2014, our Chapter identified via the Optimal Location Review process the Hutchinson property as a critical location, due in part to the view, and the limited alternatives for crossing the Kalamazoo River. The National Park Service began the process to purchase the 80 acre property, which was completed in late 2017. We thank Ron, Grace, Dave, and Gloria for their patience during this process. Now we look forward to working with the NPS to see how we can maximize hiker utilization of this property.

October 2006. Left to right, Martha Jones, Larry Hawkins, and Joe Higdon climb beside crop field, that year in soybeans, to top of hill, then into woods on the Hutchinson property.

Mick Hawkins

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The North Star


NCT Reroute Legislation Passes the House! By Andrea Ketchmark

This legislation demonstrates our commitment to working in a bipartisan fashion to enhance public access to public lands.” Our thanks go out to Rep. Nolan and all of the cosponsors of this legislation, as well as the members of NCTA’s Advocacy Committee and the communities along the Trail that advocated for this important move. Together, we made Representative Nolan, who has led this happen. the effort in the House to permit The Senate route adjustments for the North version, S.363, is Country Trail, gets “blazed" at a local next. It has passed celebration. out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and now we’re waiting for a vote. Join us in asking your Senators to support this important legislation and thanking them if they already signed on. Find out more at https://northcountrytrail.org/our-work/ advocacy/

Matt Davis

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n June 5th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act (H.R.1026), legislation that will change the official route of the North Country National Scenic Trail in northeastern Minnesota and extend the eastern terminus of the Trail to connect with the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. These changes in route will add some incredible scenery to the Trail’s route and solidify our partnerships with the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route and Kekekabic Trails in Minnesota and the Long Trail in Vermont. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act this year, this is a crucial step toward the goals of the Act. Representative Nolan from Minnesota, who introduced the bill, was joined by Rep. Welch from Vermont and Rep. Grothman in Wisconsin on the House floor as they stood in front of a map of the Trail and spoke elegantly about the Trail, its economic and health benefits, as well as the heart of the volunteers who build and maintain it. Although we still have to make it through the Senate, we’ve jumped our biggest hurdle. It took a long time to get the leadership of the House Natural Resources Committee to see that this legislation doesn’t mandate land acquisition, it isn’t adding to the backlog of maintenance needed in our National Park System, which is a real problem, and it is supported by the communities and citizens on the ground. One of the most concerned was Rob Bishop from Utah, the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, but after hearing support from local communities, he changed his tune and recently told Outside Magazine, “This bill helps get more Americans outside and is a win for recreation, public access, and the enjoyment of our nation’s beautiful scenic trails.

Comfort

From Cold Comfort, Life at the Top of the Map by Barton Sutter

www.northcountrytrail.org

Dove Day

(Lake) Big Secret has never given me many fish, but it's just the right size for canoeing and offers the backdrop I need —white pines, red pines, black spruce, white spruce, popple, birch, and cedar. One autumn day my wife and I took a break from fishing—and dragged our canoe up a granite slab. …Then suddenly, out of nowhere, out of deep silence, came the howl of timber wolves: one voice at first—one long, lonely, wavering note — then several songs from other throats, twisting and twining around the first.—This music was more unearthly than Gregorian chant.—The silence was deeper after they stopped. I looked at my watch. I'd waited thirty years to hear timber wolves howl, and their song had lasted less than three minutes. I felt like a mystic who had finally heard the voice of God. I was almost insanely happy… Every trip I've taken up this backroad has been money in the bank, savings for my retirement. For soon the day will come when I'm too blind to drive, too creaky to canoe. But by then I won't need to leave the house. And when they lock me up in the nursing home, I'll slip off into the forest inside my own head. Pp 205-206

Coal Mine Lake, North Dakota.

July-September 2018

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Blue Blaze Experience

Blazing the Trail

by Jane Norton, Chief Noonday Chapter

By Valerie Bader, Director of Trail Development

spent a day reblazing a section of our Trail on dirt roads, part of which was a seasonal road. This area is heavily wooded and was in a blaze of fall glory with a bright sun shining on the colorful trees. I was having a great time finding the faded blue blazes and trying my best to paint exactly on the fading blaze. I was hardly distracted by vehicles passing me because there were so few. I was wearing a white lab coat that has recorded my past blazing days with blue paint, rubber gloves and holey shoes. I was quite a beauty. As I was refreshing a very old looking blaze on a tree, a pickup stopped next to me and asked what I was doing. I explained I was almost done freshening up the faded blazes for the North Country Trail. After talking to the husband and wife, I learned that they owned the property along the road and I was unknowingly painting the husband’s favorite tree. I apologized for the misunderstanding and explained that the Trail sometimes follows roads because there was not a way to hike through private land. This road was connecting public land to the next section of public land. I explained the NCT was 4,600 miles and was the longest National Scenic Trail, managed by the National Park Service. He had heard of the Trail but thought it was further north where he had seen a trail sign. He even said he had two hikers last year who camped in his yard. These scruffy guys had explained the Trail to him and he let them camp there. I told him how beautiful this area was and especially that big horse farm. After he stated he owned the farm, I Jane Norton shared the NCT vision with congratulated him a landowner while refreshing blazes on its beauty. He along a dirt road on Chief Noonday's asked me where Trail section. I lived and how long I had lived in the area. I asked him his name and was glad to meet him. He wanted to shake hands, but I said I probably had paint on them. He laughed and said I had paint on my face, too! After this 20 minute encounter, he then said I could leave paint on the trees and continue my job. This story may help others when working on the Trail. You need to keep talking and find ways to explain the “Trail,” getting past the paint on the trees. The public needs to hear our NCTA STORY that we all know so well. This gentleman just needed to the HEAR the STORY. I think I made a friend that day.

ith trail season fully upon us, many of the signs along the NCT are getting an update and new sections of the Trail are being marked for hikers to find their way. Paint blazes are our most frequently used trail markings. Trail Adopters and Volunteers spend countless hours every year adding, removing and refreshing these blazes. Having a consistently well blazed Trail is a great way to leave hikers with a positive impression and to allow trail users to identify the NCT, no matter where they find themselves along the 4,600 miles of Trail. This year, NCTA has been revising its policy on End-to-End Marking. This new policy will help to create continuity and clarity of trail marking and wayfinding for the entire route of the Trail. Be on the lookout for this updated information soon. In the meantime, there are some great blazing tips and resources available for Trail Adopters and Volunteers. Learn more about how to blaze the Trail in the NCTA blazing video at: https://vimeo. com/99029265 and in the NCTA Blazing for Beginners document that can be found online in the Volunteer Resources Center.

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Tom Norton

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A Few Blazing Best Practices: • The Trail should be always be marked according to the North Country National Scenic Trail: A Handbook for Trail Design, Construction, and Maintenance and subsequent guidance. • Be careful not to overblaze. When walking the Trail, a hiker should see only one blaze at any one time. Too many blazes cause sign pollution and can negatively impact a trail user’s experience. • Blazes should be continuous. Where possible, blazes should continue with the same frequency along road segments and other unmistakable parts of the Trail. Blazes should be placed immediately beyond any trail junction or road crossing. • Blaze only where you have permission. On private lands, contact landowners before blazing the Trail. Trees along roadways may require talking with adjacent landowners AND the Highway Department. Never blaze any locations where you are unsure of the landowner. • Place blazes on trees or posts. In forested areas, a suitable tree should be blazed. In non-forested areas, blazes should be placed on wooden or Carsonite posts. Utility poles and other infrastructure should not be marked without permission of the owner of that infrastructure. • Choose your locations wisely. Often, a tree that is highly visible from one direction is not visible from the other direction so don’t depend on blazing the same tree on both sides. Vegetation will have to be cleared annually to keep blazes visible. Did You Know? • The official North Country Trail blaze is Nelson Boundary Paint Blue. • Paint blazes last about four years. • Good trees for blazing are: pines, spruces, Balsam Fir, oaks, maples, beech, Hornbeam (musclewood), Ironwood, etc. • Blazes should be 2 x 6 inches; approximately the size of a dollar bill. • A double blaze lets hikers know to expect a turn in the Trail.


Joan Young

Joan Young

Michael (Bodhi) Rogers

Joan Young used her camera to capture this huge luna moth, as tall as a blaze, just emerged after the April Celebration in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.

Luna Moth By Joan Young

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have not seen a luna moth in the wild since I was a child. I have never, EVER, seen one freshly emerged from the cocoon with bright colors like this.

Let me tell you how we found this beautiful boy (more on gender later). Marie Altenau and I were about halfway up a hill on one of the trails at Clear Creek Metropark, just northwest of the Buckeye/North Country Trails in Hocking County, Ohio, and sat down on a log to rest. I was generally looking into the vegetation; I'm always looking for interesting plants. There was a bare twig of a stalk sticking up with an odd green shape hanging off one side. I thought that was funny. It looked like half a ginkgo leaf. Then I saw a matching one on the other side. Then I noticed what looked to be a fresh green maple key hanging down below that. I was momentarily mystified. Then I jumped up and said, “I think that's a luna moth!" I walked to the other side of the stalk and was astonished to see a bright, fresh moth. We approached very cautiously and eased in gently, but the moth paid no attention to us at all. After a few minutes I became convinced it was still drying its wings, probably having emerged that morning, since everything was opened out, but it all seemed very soft. They tend to emerge early in the www.northcountrytrail.org

day so their wings will be dry by night when they fly. We didn't touch it; didn't want to cause any damage, but the “tails" still looked very fragile. Two things struck us right away. One was how furry the moth was. The body could be called plush. The other outstanding feature is the deep maroon coloring along the edge of the wings, and the legs. Look at those legs! And the eyespots on the wings. I did a little reading. The adults live only about seven days, so they have to find a mate quickly, but in the latitude of Ohio there are probably two broods a season. It's one of the largest moths in North America. We looked around for the cocoon, but couldn't find it. They have no functional mouth parts so can't eat. The long tails serve to confuse bats, one of their greatest predators. In fact, if a bat happens to grab one of those wing extensions, the moth can lose it and still fly. At Butterfly Ridge, a private nature preserve focused on Lepidoptera, I showed them my pictures, and they said it's a boy moth, because the antennae are very wide. Female antennae are skinny. Those antennae can smell the female pheromones from a great distance away, so the males can find a mate.

Here is a photo of another luna moth taken near Ithaca, N.Y., about a month later. We can see that this one has had a few days of life longer than Joan's moth, so appears slightly tattered.

The week of the Celebration, and the following week in Ohio, we saw and heard a lot of birds, including some warblers (which I'm no good at identifying), a captive screech owl, we also saw millipedes, and of course bunnies, squirrels, etc., but this has to be the number one wildlife sighting of the Ohio weeks. Although they are widespread, somewhat common, and not considered in any population danger, they aren't a moth you will see very often unless you go looking in the right places. Apparently the host plants it likes can vary by region, but one possibility is hickory, and we did see a lot of young hickory trees in that forest.

July-September 2018

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Lorana Jinkerson

NCTA Celebration 2018 at Buckeye Trailfest

Brought Along Our Future: a family hike at Split Rock was enjoyed by all.

By Ruth Dorrough

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The North Star

Dove Day

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ost people are aware that a fairly straight route across America encompasses about 3,000 miles. We get quizzical, skeptical looks when we tell folks that we walked 4,600 miles from Vermont to North Dakota on the North Country Trail. Inevitably we end up making a big U-shape with our arm, explaining that over 900 miles of the North Country Trail are hosted by the Buckeye Trail and swing around Ohio before reaching the Michigan border. The annual NCTA Celebration is held each year on a rotating basis in one of the states through which the NCT passes. 2018 witnessed a delightful blending of the NCTA Celebration and the annual Buckeye Trailfest. Held in the stunning Hocking Hills the event.... Renewed the Magic “I can’t believe that people traveled so far to be here. I just met some really nice folks from North Dakota!” This comment overheard early during the event alerted me to be more aware of the synergy–indeed some called it magic–which occurs when good people with common interests, goals, values, and a sense of fun make an effort to gather in person in a unique setting. This year’s Trailfest Celebration was rich in the pleasure of spending time with old friends and making “new old friends.” Even though many of us had communicated by e-mail, phone, and knew of each other’s past year through Facebook and Instagram, nothing could top the pleasure of seeing each other in person, appreciating the effort each had made to reunite, and sharing a hug, handshake, or even just a wave across a beautiful natural setting.

Reveled In The Magic: Bill Courtois of Michigan welcomes hikers to a wonderful sandstone bowl in Hocking Hills State Park.


Dove Day

Broadened Our Perspectives And Knowledge “Who would think you’d see something like this? I never dreamed Ohio could be so beautiful.” “How does your chapter go about recruiting new members?” “Yeah, I liked the Celebrations in hotels or at colleges but this camp was fun also. It was a bit chilly last night but it was a blast tenting on the lawn of the Celebration site and fun to be all together.” “The presentations are great! Did you get to the one on Feral Swine?” Throughout the event overheard exchanges like these indicated that attendees and volunteers with open minds would leave with greater recognition for the complexity of the effort and the wealth of support and ideas that is available from others. They reinforce the power that our work and inviting others to share in its fruits has to widen our views and unite us. Dan Dorrough

Broadened Our Perspective: visitors to the Celebration from every state tented together and made new friends.

Emphasized the Need to Partner and The Rewards of Eschewing Organizational Territorialism There was a lively exchange of information and inspiration among attendees and representatives from the National Park Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Nature Conservancy, USDA Wildlife Services, and private nature preserves. Backpacker Magazine Get Out More Tour and Warrior Expeditions were among those present. Joint committees from the Buckeye and North Country Trail Associations worked amicably together for a year in thoughtful planning respectful of the different traditions and expectations for each group regarding its annual gathering. While some aspects of this planning played out better than others, our intent to respect and appreciate each other remained intact at event’s end. A humbling example of the importance of being willing to compromise struck me at the hike registration table. The planning committee struggled with the fact that each organization had different processes regarding signing up for hikes at the annual event. NCTA folks are accustomed to signing up for hikes prior to the event. BTA folks sign up for hikes when they arrive. After considerable discussion, the compromise reached was that hikers would be able to sign up for some hikes prior to the event and some hikes on arrival. The pre-event confusion and consternation which this process generated was compounded by an observation at the onsite hike sign up

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Renewed Our Passion to protect special places.

table. Some folks who had pre-signed up for hikes were in lively conversation (“Didn’t we do that one on our own yesterday? Oh, this one looks good. Which would you prefer?”) eventually crossing their names off the pre-sign up sheet and signing up for an onsite hike. By Saturday the pre-event sign up sheet had so many scratch-outs and sign-ups as to be undecipherable. The goal of keeping hikes a reasonable size was achieved. However, the vignette made me glad that those of us advocating for presign up had not taken a stronger stand. It also humbled me when I thought of all the NCTA Celebrations I had blithely attended and critiqued without a clue of the enormous amount of work it takes to plan one and how crazy the actual implementation becomes. Renewed Our Commitment to Protect the Trail The profound response attendees had to the natural beauty of Hocking Hills and the inspiring examples of land that has escaped the encroachment of development was both heightened and sobered by the awareness of the precarious state of our natural areas. The imperative to protect the land was emphasized throughout the event concluding with the keynote address by

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Lorana Jinkerson

Karen Walker

Tending to our future by bringing children along to the woods.

Fun memories of the Fun Bus. Oops.

Josh Knights of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio. Attendees, many of whom give much of their time and energy to land protection advocacy, generously pledged financial support for the BTA and NCTA to continue this effort. In the spirit of the event, an impressive number of those present made pledges to both organizations!

The story I heard snippets of the most as I made my way about Camp Oty’Okwa was The Great Bus Story. Trail folks’ favorite tales seldom involve things that go right. Here is Lorana’s eyewitness account of the event. Oh, What a “Fun Bus!” After my hike Thursday from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave, our group boarded the Fun Bus to head back to Camp Oty’Okwa. After a few miles, Joyce came up from the back of the bus and told the driver that there were still some hikers who needed to be picked up and we had to go back. (Note, we are on a blacktop two lane Ohio country road with very little shoulder.) The driver spotted a drive leading off to the left so she turned in with the idea of backing out and turning the bus around. As she was backing, we could all hear scraping as the back of the bus hit the pavement. It continued until she was stuck on the road across one lane. Realizing the situation, we all exited the bus and some of the hikers tried to phone for help without a lot of luck as cell service was very weak. Other hikers began traffic control around the bus and a few started giving suggestions on how to solve the situation. Shortly thereafter a man with a pickup truck and some lumber in the bed stopped across the road and a local came up driving a small tractor. They tried using some 4 x 4s to get the bus up on but the driver just ended up spinning the tires, burning rubber, and leaving smoke flying in the air. Soon a natural resources officer arrived with flashing lights on his pickup truck but not much else. Eventually, they were able to move the bus forward and made the decision to have the driver drive the gravel road to the top of the hill where there were some rental cabins and a small cul-desac where they hoped she could turn around. We were told that she did a multi-point turn, going forward a little, back a little, forward a little…, bumping a fence and a couple of trees along the way but she did manage to get it turned around. In the meantime, a lady came by and offered to take a couple of hikers back to Camp Oty’Okwa to retrieve their cars so they could come and start transporting all of us back. Before any of them returned, the bus came down the hill on the dirt road and pulled out onto the blacktop road in the opposite direction of Camp Oty’Okwa. That was the only direction the bus could make the turn and not get stuck again. We loaded up and headed back the way we came to find an acceptable place to turn around again and head back to Camp Oty’Okwa. I was totally amazed at how cool, calm, and collected the driver was. If that had happened to me, I would have been ready to quit my job on the spot, embarrassed beyond belief and probably sobbing. Oh, what a “Fun Bus.”

Looked to Our Future We celebrated Luc Albert and Aurora Burton, our Rising Star award winners who were present. On Saturday kids were taken on a walk, allowed to explore, served lunch, and then worked on crafts which were nature centered. Lorana Jinkerson serendipitously encountered the group as she describes below. Family Hike to Split Rock: A Natural Playground – Oh, What Fun! Saturday morning I headed down to Split Rock at Camp Oty’Okwa for a short hike. I overheard people chatting and as I closed in on them, I realized it was the Family Hike. There were children of all ages, parents, and grandparents all heading to Split Rock too. I decided to tag along with them. That was a great decision as upon reaching this natural, God-designed playground, the kids and adults began to explore the crevices and cracks in the rocks. I was immediately struck by how much fun the kids were having, laughing, jumping, climbing, crawling, hiding, and chasing all in this better-than-any-amusement park setting. In an amusement park they would either be standing in line to get on a ride or riding a ride. Here they were having real honest-to-goodness old-fashioned physical activity and fun in a wonderful natural environment. Squeals of joy and excitement could be heard and big smiles shone on their faces as they explored every nook and cranny of the area. Gave Us Fun and Provided Memories and Stories to Tell Around the Campfire The event produced hundreds of shared photos which captured the sense of fun that attendees experienced throughout the event. Lightness and good will wafted throughout hikes, meals, programs, or just hanging around. While there were no sightings of the Buckeye Bigfoot on the night time reconnaissance hike, the Wampum Bigfoot made a couple of appearances including proudly marching down the aisle during the closing session and making the first pledge to NCTA and BTA.

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Sally Sugar

The Magic Continues: Randall Roberts receives the Buckeye Trail Association President's Award from Mary Hamilton.

Use NCTA's Website To Plan Your Hikes!

Dove Day

Remember, we now have two sites for helping both hike planners and trail maintainers: When planning your hike, read about major closures and reroutes: https://northcountrytrail.org/ trail/trail-alerts/ Or to report a problem, for which news our maintainers will be so grateful: https://northcountrytrail.org/ trail/report-trail-condition HQ staff says that the trail alerts page has allowed us to better communicate with the public about major reroutes, trail closures and storm damage along the Trail. With more than 1,600 page views to date, we hope hikers are finding this information very useful in planning their hikes. And reporting problems on the “trail condition� site gets them fixed so much faster, so please use these sites both before and after your hikes.

Partners At Work: representatives of almost every agency we work with on our shared trail goals held a round table discussion one evening.

Looking Forward to Next Year Wearing his Buckeye Trail shirt and North County Trail hat (or was it his North County Trail shirt and Buckeye Trail hat?) Eugene Branigan, chair of NCTA Celebration 2019, invited us all to come to Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Michigan, May 1-5, 2019. Hope to see you there!

www.northcountrytrail.org

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Where in the Blue Blazes? In this regular feature of North Star, we challenge your knowledge in a friendly competition to name the location of a detail or point of interest along the 4,600+mile North Country Trail. Any of our readers can submit a photo for consideration for the next puzzle, or play our game by answering the question: Where in the Blue Blazes can this location be found?

“Forest Bathing” on the NCT by Lisa Snook

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e are about to complete the trip of a lifetime. Our journey started almost seven years ago when Barb Whittington and I decided to hike the Pictured Rocks from Grand Marais to Munising, in the Upper Peninsula, the UP, of Michigan. When we were introduced, Barb made note of the hiking boots I was wearing at the time. (She admitted to me later that she did not think that I was as serious about adventure as the boots may have suggested.) We planned our Pictured Rocks backpack hike and made the 50 miles in three days and two nights. We carried way too much weight and planned too many miles per day but we saw some awe inspiring views of Lake Superior and of the Pictured Rocks.

Even though we made many mistakes that first hike, the beauty of the Trail helped us set a goal of planning an adventure twice a year at least. We did not know how to pack and did not have the right gear but we were so excited. We began with garage sale cast-off gear and worked our way up to some pretty comfortable stuff. I wish I had a picture of the little kid’s racecar tent Barb used on our first hike. After the initial years we settled into our goal of hiking the entire NCT through the UP in Michigan. Juggling our lives, the weather and our work, we fit in the hikes when we could, sometimes bringing along other friends and most of the time taking on more than we should have. For me, these years have represented a true transition in my life. I retired from a long career in public education, began working part-time in a Human Resources role in a work-from-home position. My sons made their own way in the world becoming the mature, responsible gentlemen that I knew they would be, with my older son bringing us a lovely addition to our family in our daughter-in-law. My husband began a new career of his own as a segue to retirement. So now I was free to roam and I needed the challenge. The question often comes up as to why we chose to do this trek in the first place with the underlying or blatantly stated question of whether we are too old to have started something like

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this. What holds most women back throughout our lives is fear. Fortunately I have found some pretty fearless friends and together we came to the conclusion that if not now, when? We began doing only backpacking but due to weather conditions and time constraints, we started planting a car and hiking car to car, moving the cars and camping in our vehicles. As far as adventures go, we have many stories to tell. Each trip had a special event, crazy plan or wild moment to retell with zeal later. I am sure some of our friends think we are making these things up but they are all true and I would not have missed one of them. On one backpacking trip we got to a planned destination a bit ahead of schedule so we decided to keep going and just stop wherever we saw an opportunity. When we stopped it was a bit too late and the light was dim. We must have camped on a wildlife path unknowingly. After dark we were settling in our respective tents when we heard four huge thumps on the ground very close by. I assumed that Barb was pounding in a stake for her tent or something and asked her what she was doing over there. Then came three words that sent chills. “That wasn’t me.” We grabbed headlamps and pocket flashlights and looked out but saw nothing. We did not see any tracks in the morning either but are assuming it was a large buck stomping the ground at the sight of our two bright red tents on his path. During our hikes we have experienced trail magic on numerous occasions. Before one special hike, Barb had mentioned to a seasoned hiker our planned route. This wonderful lady hiked in the day before and left us a lovely note of encouragement taped to a wooden foot bridge she knew we would be crossing. We sat on the bridge, listened to the water rush over the rocks and praised Virginia for her thoughtfulness. Later, while in the Tahquamenon area we stumbled upon a volunteer group that had just repaired a boardwalk over a beaver dam. We were some of the first to cross the newly refurbished trail so we had celebrity


Lisa Snook Lisa Snook

Lisa's beginner boot now appropriately retired to life as a planter. . Lisa Snook

Lisa, left, and Barb.

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the ’80’s to encourage city dwellers to plan time in nature. The article called this communing with nature “forest bathing.” Being in the woods breathing that fresh air is very cleansing indeed. Also gratifying is taking on a difficult physical task and accomplishing it. By October 2018 we will have completed our 500+ mile forest bathing trek across the UP with the plan after that to go back to some spots that we especially liked and hike parts of the NCT again. The North Country Trail across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a treasure that must be experienced. Sherry Crisp

status. On down the Trail, one of the volunteers from the Hiawatha Shore-toShore Chapter stopped to ask us how things looked. We praised their efforts, told him how wonderful the Trail had been and asked him where we could get some beverages without going into town since we were backpacking and did not have our car. Later on as we crossed Highway 123 to get to the Rivermouth campground, a car slowed and a member of the trail volunteer group asked us what beverages we wanted. When we reached our campsite, we had our beverages, some home-baked cookies and an invitation to join the volunteer group at the group campsite for food and fellowship. What a great group of volunteers! The beauty and the solitude of the NCT in the UP are indescribable. The waterfalls there are truly breathtaking. We rarely saw other people on the Trail but encountered ruffed grouse, turkeys, sand hill cranes, porcupines, deer, moose and even bear on the Trail. It is really difficult to try to put into words what this trip has meant for us. I read recently that in Japan, there is a renewed interest in a health movement begun in

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Learning a Thing or Two By Glen Van Antwerp

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Glen Van Antwerp (left) and Steve Breithaupt on the North Country Trail, May 2018. Picture taken by a passerby, with Glen's camera.

Glen Van Antwerp

Steve Breithaupt wearing and walking the North Country Trail.

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teve and I are day-hikers, the lowest hikers on the totem pole, but hiking has taught us something about trails and life. I met Steve after he retired from working with tribal health organizations through the federal government in Montana, Alaska, and New Mexico. Steve had also lived in several other states, so I asked why he chose to retire to Northern Michigan. He said the local cross-country ski trails were a big factor. I knew he was my kind of retiree, and we became crosscountry skiing partners that winter. When the snow melted, Steve said we should take up hiking to keep in shape. He had heard that some trail crossed Michigan, but he didn’t know where it was, so I looked online and found the North Country Trail. I was surprised to find it; the Trail is only a half-hour drive from my house, but I’d never heard of it before. We decided to try the NCT, so we drove two cars to the Udall trailhead, dropped one there, drove the other vehicle south to the Freesoil trailhead, and hiked back north. After the hike, we retrieved the other car. We loved the Trail, so we ordered maps, planned more hikes, and kept hiking once or twice a week all summer of 2014, always taking two cars and hiking north, traveling light and fast, going trailhead to trailhead. Eventually, we came to an area where the North Country Trail shared a section with the Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail, merging, dividing, and rejoining. We didn’t always know which trail we were following. The Shoreto-Shore portions were heavily eroded from horse traffic, and we trudged along through deep sand. It was rough going on a hot day, so we walked with heads down, watched our steps, and missed a turn when the NCT veered off. We kept going for several miles, somewhat puzzled by the lack of blue blazes, the usual guide marks on the NCT. We were still seeing different guide marks—the Shore-to-Shore ones—and figured the trails were still merged. Finally, we suspected we were on the wrong trail, and a check of our map and compass confirmed it. We revised our plan, headed cross-country to a road, and found the NCT again, but we were too exhausted to hike our missing miles that day. We returned a few days later and hiked the right trail, having learned to keep better watch for blue blazes, and now knowing that we needed to double back quickly if we lost them. Meanwhile, we read blogs and books and learned hiker lore and language, like the difference between day-hikers, section-hikers, and through-hikers. That fall, we met the Grand Traverse Hiking Club challenge, completing their 101-mile portion of the North Country Trail. Now we were beginning to feel like real hikers. Our ski season that winter began to seem like conditioning for the upcoming hiking season instead of the other way around. When spring arrived in 2015, we decided to keep hiking north with a goal of reaching the Mackinaw Bridge by Labor Day. We reached our goal and walked with a crowd of tens of thousands, the Labor Day Bridge Walk being the only time that this portion of the NCT could be traversed on foot. Hiking weather would last into November, so our hiking trips became southbound, starting again at the Freesoil trailhead. One late October day, on a trail deep in the woods, we saw a young couple with backpacks and trekking poles hiking quickly toward us. They stopped to talk, and we learned they had through-hiked the lengthy, strenuous Pacific Crest Trail a year earlier. It was an honor to spend fifteen or twenty minutes with them; it felt like meeting royalty. Our winter flew by, and the 2016 hiking season brought a new goal: completing the rest of the southbound trail to the Ohio border. An early


start to our hiking season, combined with increased distances for each hike, soon made the distance between home and trail too daunting for one-day hikes. We began driving to campgrounds, sleeping in tents each night, and hiking several days in a row. We enjoyed the camping, two retired guys reliving their youth. The last hike to the Ohio border was mostly a walk along open roadside, instead of shaded trails, on a stifling day as the sun beat down without mercy. Steve had trouble keeping a fast pace, but I wasn’t helpful; I kept pushing the pace and checking the time because we had one more mission that day. We wanted to reach the NCT headquarters in Lowell before closing time so we could collect 100-mile challenge awards for our 200 miles hiked that year. Our arrival was a little late, but the gracious staff opened the door and cheerfully helped us at the end of their busy day. Although it was fortunate that we received our awards, it was unfortunate that I’d pushed Steve too hard. He’d had past problems with atrial fibrillation and his a-fib returned during that hike. Our usual autumn hiking season didn’t happen that year as Steve received treatment to restore his normal heart rhythm. Steve felt fine as the 2017 hiking season started, so we chose a new goal: we would work north and west from the Straits of Mackinaw and reach Marquette for the annual NCT Celebration in July. We enjoyed Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but

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didn’t reach Marquette in time. Our last hike before the festival was a few miles east of Grand Marais. The blue blazes led us straight to a river and stopped. We looked for a riverbank trail or a bridge but saw neither. This was new and baffling, and sunset was approaching, so we backtracked and walked a dirt road back to our car. The NCT Association Annual Celebration in Marquette was great fun with its well-planned outings and excellent seminars. We loved being in a crowd that shared our enthusiasm for hiking and especially enjoyed talking to Ruth and Dan Dorrough. They shared our taste for two-car day hiking, and it amazed us that they had hiked the entire North Country Trail that way, even though it took them quite a few years. That August, after the Annual Celebration in Marquette, we took one more hiking trip. We had learned at the festival that the Trail sometimes goes right through a river, so we went back to the spot that had confused us. We waded across, found blue blazes, and proceeded to hike through Grand Marais. The next day, we hiked well into the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and had now covered the entire 800 trail miles from the OhioMichigan border northward. We met our hardest challenges all too soon: Steve’s a-fib came back, requiring another procedure to reset his heart, and I also felt unwell. I soon learned that I had stage-four cancer, which my oncologist diagnosed as incurable and too advanced to treat with surgery, at least just yet.

Chemotherapy could extend my life somewhat, but my chance of living five more years was about ten percent, which meant that my chance of finishing the NCT would be slim indeed. Ever since that diagnosis last August, I have had chemotherapy every two weeks. These treatments have beaten the tumors back significantly, and I’ve tolerated the medicine well. I’m making progress but have had a hard time finding good days, free of side effects, for hiking. As we enter the 2018 hiking season, Steve is strong and healthy, and my cancer is somewhat at bay. We hike when we can and hope to pick up our Upper Peninsula walk where we left off last summer. Our new goal is to complete the NCT Michigan miles and then start on other states. We are learning that hiking with a goal is different from just walking, and we are finding that aspirations are important. Last summer, hiking in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we came across a stretch of ancient, now-forested sand dunes. Sometimes the Trail had us scrambling straight up or down the steep side of a dune. Steve observed, with a wry smile, that life is often like that trail. We go up one hill and down another, sometimes striding and sometimes scrambling on all fours. We are still striding and scrambling, savoring a love for life and love for the Trail, marching on. Steve and I are dayhikers—just day-hikers—but we have learned a thing or two about trails, about hiking, and about life.

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Duane Lawton Tarin Hasper

Mary Rebert shows Chief Noonday Chapter participants how to find a geocache.

National Trails Day

2018

Hike leader Jane Norton was ready with garbage bags, making waders to keep Chief Noonday Chapter on the Trail through this watery section.

Compiled by Kate Lemon

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very year on the first Saturday of June, Americans lace up their boots to celebrate National Trails Day. Some plan to explore new places and log miles, while others don work gloves to improve or expand trail. Regardless of the activity or location, thousands of people get outside to support the incredibly robust network that is our country’s trail system. Best of all, some events along the NCT invited new people to sample the Trail. American Hiking Society (AHS) is dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience. The organization set a goal and challenged citizens to improve 2,802 miles of trail this year in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Trail System. Across the country on National Trails Day alone, 3,954 miles of trail were improved. In 2019, National Trails Day will be Saturday, June 1. In the meantime, National Public Lands Day is September 22, 2018 and this year marks its 25th year. Please visit the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) website for more information.

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We Received Reports from Several Groups Chief Noonday Chapter celebrated National Trails Day (NTD) by sponsoring a hike on our section in lower Michigan. For many of the 21 hikers in attendance, it resulted in a day of “firsts.” They were introduced to geocaching, and on their hike, they experienced the discovery of finding a geocache. The Trail had been scouted and was noted to have a section of fairly wet terrain that would need to be navigated. Hikers were given the option of taking an alternate road walk versus slogging through the wetland, but all of the participants chose the latter. The hike leader, Jane Norton, was prepared with garbage bags for each hiker. After placing a bag over each leg, one by one they navigated through a short section of anklehigh water that covered the Trail. Jane noted “All had a smile on their face throughout the experience.” It was a “first time“ for all of them! — Mary Rebert The Sheyenne River Valley Chapter did their usual NTD event at Fort Ransom State Park which included a Ranger-led hike, canoe/kayak trip, and cookout in North Dakota. The Dakota Prairie Chapter did an Introductory Backpacking trip near the Sheyenne National Grasslands. The Minnesota Waters and Prairie Chapter did a guided hike at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls.  The Laurentian Lakes Chapter did a lunch and trail adopter training at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.  The Star of the North Chapter held a trail workday on their section in the Chippewa National Forest. 


Star of the North Chapter

Laurentian Lakes Chapter Star of the North Chapter

Laurentian Lakes Chapter demonstrates trail maintenance machines to hikers on National Trails Day.

Downed trees in the Chippewa National Forest.

Over 50 people gathered for the Trail Town of Kalkaska’s first National Trail’s Day Celebration. More folks opted for the longer morning hike and the two groups met just as we approached the County Fairgrounds. Here, with funding provided by TransCanada, we unveiled a new panel and banner for the village and enjoyed hot dogs and much more. Brushing and clearing for the new route along the Sturgeon River east of US 41 in Baraga County began on NTD with eager trail workers from the Peter Wolfe Chapter. Expected to be completed later this summer the new section of Trail will help eliminate over half of the current 15 mile road walk, one of the longest road walk sections left in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. — Kenny Wawsczyk, Regional Coordinator from Michigan Kate Lemon and Val Bader from NCTA joined the Wampum Chapter to celebrate NTD in the NCT Trail Town of Darlington. Pennsylvania. The celebration coincided with the town’s Darlington Days event. Nine people participated in a hike starting from Louthan Road and following the NCT for 3.2 miles back into town to join the rest of the Chapter for the Darlington Days annual parade. Chapter members also hosted a booth at the event, where they shared NCT information and had their famous hiking stick carving station.  Last fall the Finger Lakes Trail Conference bought a critically located link property when it came up for sale. A great many people with the Cayuga Trails Club and the FLT made this happen. Now that we own the property we can improve and relocate the FLT route with the guidance of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation who will be the eventual owners of most of the property, adding it to Shindagin Hollow State Forest.

www.northcountrytrail.org

Duane Lawton

The Superior Hiking Trail Association arranged some trail clearing crews and a guided hike. — Matt Davis, Regional Coordinator from N.D., and Minn.

Boy Scouts prepare lunch in dutch ovens for the JV 45° Chapter at Skyline Shelter near Petoskey, Michigan. Thanks to Joe Farley! Pic by Duane Lawton

There was a variety of tasks involved in creating this new path in central N.Y. on National Trails Day. There was the field path mowing for which an elderly DR field mower was resurrected. There was brush clearing through some woods and tree lines and a short distance up the hill. A bridge was built across a fast moving stream and an imaginative s-curve puncheon constructed over the muddy spot at the base of the hill. The engineers and carpenters among the group had a long but remarkably productive day. In the end the mowing was done, the brush was cut, the water was bridged and the new path was blazed and open for business just in time for the FLT Spring Weekend hikes. — David Priester

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A Prairie Hike Story and pictures by Rachel H. Frey

“I

’d like to hike in the prairie,” said my husband Merv, as we planned our North Country Trail trip. “I've never done that.”

We hadn't, because all of our previous NCT hikes had been in Pennsylvania, New York or Ohio in which there are certainly no prairies! In 2017, we planned a six-week hiking trip from North Dakota to Ohio, choosing blazed sections, including sections in North Dakota which looked like prairies. An easy 1.8 miles in Lake Sakakawea Park brought us to the NCT's western terminus by Lake Sakakawea where we joyfully posed for a photo. Retracing our steps, we passed a plum tree and a black cherry tree in the wooded area and returned to Downstream Campground. North Dakota's high-powered winds made it impossible to use our screen tent, however. It would have blown it flat! A neighboring camper was putting up a teepee which we watched, first with trepidation, but later on with admiration. They apparently do this quite frequently and only once did wind destroy it and that was with 100 mph winds in Missouri! It took about three hours to erect the huge structure which was made after the Sheyenne design. Four queen-size beds fit inside. Air goes out the top and they can have a fire inside too, if needed. Planning our next day's hike around Lake Audubon, we chose a circular route via a gravel road, thereby hiking 11.9 miles, but with 8.9 of those miles being NCT. Hiking by the lake, we saw coots which I recognized, other brownish ducks I did not, but later identified as gadwall, and passed beef cattle and cowboys. Not too sure about a close meeting with a bull, I was glad to cross over a pad which my ex-farmer husband recognized as a shock mat to deter cattle. We stepped carefully over it and continued on around Lake Audubon. A red daisylike flower, which I later identified as Indian paintbrush, grew along the road. I was delighted to find so many plants and animals I had never seen before. I took many photos and found their names later! Our camping neighbors were happy we left early the next morning as they had other folks coming who could then use our site. We were prepared to go into “the wilds,” packing water because our information on Coal Mine Lake

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The North Star

Black Angus cattle (or “beef” as they say in North Dakota) of Audubon Lake.

Campground said the water may not be potable. We were introduced to North Dakota's way of labeling roads, avenues in one direction and streets in the other, sometimes whether or not there was an actual “road” there. Many roads were gravel. We located 18th Street off State Highway 3 south of Harvey, and sure enough, a nice campground appeared. We could stay here free. Moose hunters were there too. We were surprised to find moose hunting in North Dakota. In the afternoon, we hiked along Sheyenne Lake on what looked like a trail at first, but it vanished very soon. After sunflower fields, there was open grass with either no trail at all or a faint mark where someone may have walked. The yellow Carsonite posts were few, fallen, or nonexistent. However, with the NCT North Dakota 109 map, there was no way to get lost as we knew the Trail was by the lake. A breezy walk over our first prairie took us along the lake, but not close enough to get a good photo of a great egret with those black legs and yellow bill. We crossed the upper end of Lake Sheyenne and with “picker-filled” clothes, we returned the same 3.5 miles to our lakeside campsite. Maybe tomorrow would be better marked. Our camping neighbors said it was to be windy tomorrow. After our experience with North Dakota winds, we decided to dismantle our tent and screen tent BEFORE we started hiking in the morning. The sun was coming up when we left. The Trail was NOT better marked. Facing the sun and posts that were very far apart made it impossible for me to see with my poor eyesight, but my husband was able to discern enough posts that we kept on going. We noted a pile of some sort of dung which mystified us. Not horse, not moose dropping, too big for raccoon. OK, what was it? There were no cattle in this area. We noticed a clump of trees with a plowed area around it. “Is this a fire lane?” we wondered. We passed Faul Campground serenaded by five furiously barking dogs and continued on in prairie grass, prairie grass, prairie grass with no trail, only few signs! This, after all, was our PRAIRIE hike! Someone must have planted plum trees here. Finding our way out using the “streets” or “avenues” to complete a circular hike, we returned to Coal Mine Campground.


Merv on prairie trail with almost invisible trail markers.

Merv's diary records, “This was difficult, challenging, and fun.” While driving out on 18th Street, we stopped at a Mennonite Brethren cemetery. The name “Faul” was on the tombstones. We wondered if there was a connection with the Faul Campground we had passed earlier in the day. History tells a story. Were the people here connected to the Mennonites who moved to Canada from Russia in the beginning of the 1900s? Labor Day weekend was not a good time to find a campsite at Lake Ashtabula. We gave up and stayed in a motel, rising early enough to begin hiking at sunrise at Baldhill Dam. The hike along Lake Ashtabula with cattle was easy, but it was not flat prairie. I was dismayed to notice a bull among the cattle. Merv, who had been an artificial inseminator for dairy and beef cattle, was sure these would be OK. They were not close to us and were in a group. We used stiles to go in and out of fields and saw boats on the blue lake. Ups and downs were definitely not prairies. Huge green frogs with black dots hid in the grass beside the Trail. Fort Ransom was our next stop and vicious wind was predicted. Concerned about the stability of our screen tent with North Dakota winds, we asked the park manager, “Do you have a site where it is safe to erect our screen tent?” “Sure,” he said. “Choose a site in the primitive area. Let me know which one you want.” Finding a suitable site almost immediately, we liked this North Dakota park! A rainbow graced our site that evening and deer walked across the grass. The next morning we hiked 2.2 miles to North Dakota's “only natural waterfall” near Martinson Bridge. We laughed. It was all of eight to ten feet!! But after all, this is North Dakota! Near the waterfall, we were delighted to find the Oak Ridge trailhead. This was the first segment in North Dakota to be designated as part of the North Country Trail. We saw more bur oaks with those curlicue caps. Along the flat trail by the Sheyenne River in the Fort Ransom Park, we passed a great blue heron and old farm machinery. Sunne Farm in the park has a large display of farm

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Indian blanket flower.

“Picker-filled" pants.

Sunflower at Coal Mine Lake.

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Bur oak curlicue acorns.

machinery, delighting my husband. But he was very happy when we drove up to a high point in the park to hopefully get cell phone coverage and we found a stand of native prairie grass! The directions to Sheyenne Oaks Campground were accurate, but no one was there. A sign directed us to register, set up and pay later. So off we went to find the trailhead. Sheyenne National Grasslands sounded like it should be a prairie. It was, but who would have guessed there are bur oaks in a grassland? There were, along with horses. We supposed those gates that swung upward were for their benefit. It was the first time we had ever hiked with horsemen. We hiked over four miles through the grasslands past working windmills until we came to one that was NOT working, with a herd of cattle who were expecting water. A HUGE bull came behind them. It looked like the Trail might go right past the windmill. Merv thought it best to backtrack. We, after all, were NOT riding horses! Retracing our steps, we continued on through the grasslands toward the east, hiking through grassy pastures. Our North Dakota hike ended in a copse of woods. North Dakota is NOT all flat prairie! Our next stop was Itasca State Park in Minnesota. Wide open spaces are beautiful but we did not mind going east to many trees!

North Star Submission Guidelines Without your material, we cannot have a magazine, so we eagerly request your submission of pictures and text for every issue. Please send both to Irene Szabo at treeweenie@aol.com, or 7639 Swamp Rd, Bergen NY 14416. Please do not embed pictures within your article, but send them separately as .jpg attachments. We will no longer accept embedded pictures. In all cases, please supply photographer's name. Front cover photo candidates: prefer vertical format, and if digital, at least 300 dpi or greater than 3000 pixels, AND we are always looking for great cover photos! Inside pictures look much better with one dimension over 1000 pixels, too, preferably 2000. Next deadline for Vol. 37, No. 3, is 1 October 2018. Remember that 900 words equal approximately one page of dense text, so very few articles should exceed 1800 words in this size of magazine. Thank you! Your editor, Irene (585) 494-0307

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The North Star


Long Distance Hiker Awards Joan Young is chair of the Long Distance Hikers Committee, so receives applications from hikers for various embroidered patches which honor their accomplishments. These are from this past spring. Jo Oostven from Manton, Michigan, earned the 1,000-mile and Michigan patches: “What bridge did you say?” I asked in a puzzled voice. “The Mackinac Bridge,” he replied. I was standing at the water pump with the only other person at the Pinney Bridge Campground, early that May morning in 2011. I spied him as he came in late the previous night. I was on a two-day hike of the Jordan River Pathway, which shares half of its miles with the North Country Trail. Pondering his reply for a minute or so, I asked again, “You're going to the Big Mac Bridge from here?” The stranger told me that he had started near his home in Baldwin, and he was determined to make the Bridge. My first thought was that he surely must be crazy, and I asked again, “Do you know how far that is from here?” I was beginning the 60th year of my own life, and coming to the realization that my backpacking days might be coming to an end. My husband of over 40 years, Don, was not a backpacker, but had always been supportive of my desire to “walk down the trail.” Therefore, I had learned to hike solo, and was pretty confident of going it alone. With the thought of turning 60 looming over me, I had been hiking all my favorite Michigan hikes, “one more time before I die.” As I hiked the final miles that day, I decided that if the stranger could hike to the Bridge, maybe so could I. 2016 came quickly, and so did my quest to complete the goal before my birthday. I still had about 175 very tough miles to complete in the UP, and 160 or so from Lowell to Ohio. In early March, Kristi “delivered me into the woods,” as she said, to my start south of Lowell, and off I went towards Ohio. There were three very difficult trips in the UP left before I could step into Wisconsin... Finally I was walking across the bridge over the Montreal River into Wisconsin. It was the adventure of a lifetime, and I thank everyone involved with the North Country Trail. See you on the Trail...

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Taken by a bystander

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Duane Lawton

Duane Lawton applied for a 1,000-mile and the Mackinac Bridge embroidered patch rockers 3/31/18: “I first hiked on the North Country Trail in the Porcupine Mountains in 2006... I had just retired. I don't recall how I came to identify it, but with a handful of young buck relatives, with whom I had trekked on Isle Royale and Boundary Waters previously, we set out to hike from Presque Isle in the Porkies to Old Victoria, through the Trap Hills. Didn't work out. Twelve years later I'm still not done, but I have passed 1,000 miles! I had hoped to complete Michigan in 2017, but events overcame that. In 2018, I still hope to, but there is a lot of other stuff on my plate (I am retired!), and so who knows. I think of all the beauty I've walked past, and remember many, many sights and locations... I can recollect the Trail as a continuous sequence of vignettes.”

Kimberly Patterson

Randall Roberts of Strongsville, Ohio, earned the Ohio patch and 1000 miles, too: I began hiking the Buckeye Trail November 2009 with the intent of completing all 1,440 miles within 10 years. I was a Naval Reservist and that took me away a weekend a month and had a teenager at home who usually took a weekend of my time going to her various activities. Hiking a little at a time, it took me a few years just to complete the 250 mile “Little Loop.” I remember the excitement when I reached Zoar, where the North Country Trail joins the BT. Actually, I just thought it was cool and didn’t think much more than that. In 2016, I was getting close to completing the Buckeye Trail and I remember talking to Connie Pond, co-author of “Follow the Blue Blazes” and then President of the BTA, about getting close to being finished. She said, “It’s sad isn’t it?” in a low voice as if she didn’t want to admit it. It was sad. I had spent years hiking the trail and now I wasn’t sure how I would feel when it was over. This is what I looked forward to on the weekends. Last summer Ruth Dorrough looked at me and said “You’re going to hike the North Country Trail.” I told her, “No, I’m just working on Ohio.” She said, “No, you’re going to hike the NCT.” That scared me a bit. Well, Ruth, you might be right. I’ve now started hiking Pennsylvania and plan to complete it in the next couple years.


Pelicans, a Canada goose, and one western grebe.

The Dakota Challenge

Forty-foot tall thingumbobbie, utterly mysterious.

Story and pictures by Rennae Gruchalla

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he Dakota Challenge is a quest that 19 hearty hikers have signed up to accomplish. This walk challenges each participant to hike the entire 430 miles of the North Country Trail in North Dakota. We began the challenge on January 1, 2017. We tentatively have an end time of December 31, 2020. Each participant who finishes will receive a beautiful embroidered patch that they can display in a place of honor. We are diligently working on our journeys both individually, and in groups. On the most recent group gathering, we set up a centrally located camp near Sibley on the north end of Lake Ashtabula. From that vantage point, folks hiked individually or in small groups depending on which part of the Trail they wanted to accomplish. On one of the days I found myself hiking alone on a very quiet, serene part of the Trail. While doing so, I was able to observe details of the land, sky, and water that I hadn’t taken the time to notice before. This inspired me to jot down observances. These details are not the usual things seen when speeding by anywhere in a vehicle or even on a bike. I hurried to get to my end-point so I wouldn’t forget the many observations: swirls in the freshly plowed fields, the many birds, ponds, lakes, the huge fields of corn stubbles, the unusual structures, as well as many, many more. I checked with the “locals” as to what the structure placed on the apex of the hill could be, most of whom exclaimed that they had no clue. Finally, one woman in the School House Restaurant in Grace City popped up with the explanation. I’m so sorry, but I cannot give the answer until after December 31, 2020, as the other Dakota Challengers would love to play sleuth and find out the answer as I had to do.

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The North Star

Observations while hiking in the heart of North Dakota

As I hiked for three days in the heart of our great state, I saw and heard wonders that one would never see or hear driving. I was filled with elation by these observations that filled my heart and soul with joy. Here are just a few: • Graceful, tall, beautiful, gold prairie grasses waving in the gentle breeze, hugging the numerous bodies of water • Patterns made by eager farmers in the black gold, plowed circles, loops, artists’ designs • Azure lakes, ponds, sloughs, all teaming with varieties of birds, geese cackling, the lonely coo of the mourning dove, the desperate quack of the mallard strongly encouraging his mate to get the heck out of there before another crazy hiker meanders a bit too close! As I listened to these melodies of nature, a train horn blew in the distance, indicating human life was not far away. • Tiny villages, tucked between rolling hills covered with prairie grasses or stubble from last year’s crop, welcoming fatigued hikers with their local flavors • A gigantic sculpture placed on top of a hill along the Trail: What is it? Who made it? Why is it placed here? • Vast stalks of corn as far as the eye can see, North Dakota gold • Looking behind, viewing ribbons of trail cutting through nature, making their own paths, no one in sight for as far as the eye can see Give yourself a gift this spring. Go out for a hike and see your state close-up!


Introducing Our Next Generation Outreach Intern

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Andrea Ketchmark

Hello! I am Delaini Disher, the Next Generation Outreach intern for the NCTA. I am a recent graduate from Cornerstone University, earning an Environmental Biology major with minors in Communications and General Science. I love connecting people with nature, and look forward to the relationships and experience I will build with other young adults and conservationists. My goal is to gain experience with environmental, sustainability, and conservation nonprofits while at the NCTA, and pursue a career in environmental advocacy. I'm a hobby geologist, selfproclaimed Viking, and aspiring beekeeper-shepherd-surfer. My internship with NCTA started in May and over the next six months I'm tasked with identifying the next generation of North Country Trail lovers and turn them into

stewards and advocates. To do that we're launching the Next Generation Coalition, a group of young adults, ages 1828, who are interested in conservation, outdoor recreation, volunteering, and environmental advocacy. This initiative is exciting and provides great opportunity for the growth and development of the Trail and the organization as well as the personal and professional growth of members of the coalition. Next Generation Coalition members will have the opportunity to connect with the NCT community and gain experience in communication, and advocacy initiatives and getting boots-on-the-ground exposure on the Trail itself. Although I'm located at NCTA headquarters in Lowell, we are recruiting members from all of our seven (soon to be eight) states and anywhere in the U.S. Help me spread the word! Email me at nextgen@northcountrytrail.org and check our website at the following. https://northcountrytrail.org/volunteers/next-generationcoalition/

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Trail Protection Efforts Get a Major Funding Boost By David C. Cowles, Development Director

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rail protection and land preservation have become significant strategic focuses for the North Country Trail Association in the last few years. In order to get access to the remaining off-road land required to complete the Trail through the backcountry, thousands of hours and thousands of dollars will be necessary. Make that millions of dollars.

That was just what was needed to fire up the 350 or so trail supporters in the audience to get their pens out and make some very serious pledges to trail protection for both trails. By the end of the evening, over $18,000 was pledged! Added to the $16,000 match, the total for this great trail protection initiative was over $34,000 for the two trails. What a great success infusing some serious money into supporting the work needed for successful trail protection efforts this year and next. The impact that gifts like this can make are as significant as they are far reaching.

The North Star

Andrea Ketchmark

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Sally Sugar

At this year’s Trailfest Celebration, trail protection was the special focus of one of the evening programs and some major dollars were raised to support it. The Nature Conservancy Director for Ohio, Josh Knights, led the audience through an informative and picturesque journey of some the Conservancy’s major land purchases in Ohio. Focusing specifically on the land parcels in the area of the North Country and Buckeye Trails, he was able to show how a long-term strategic plan can eventually succeed in protecting land resources when multiple partners are interested in their safekeeping. All total, the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected approximately 20,000 acres of the Edge of Appalachia Preserve including parcels hosting nearly 15 miles of North Country Trail corridor. Josh’s presentation inspired many in the audience about what can be done when land protection and land use partners, including trail hiking communities, work together. Following Josh’s presentation, Buckeye Trail Association volunteer Corey Ringle and NCTA Executive Director Andrea Ketchmark highlighted recent success stories from each trail’s protection Josh Knights, Executive Director of the Ohio Nature efforts. Everyone in attendance was able to see what can Conservancy shared some great stories of land preservation and trail corridor protection in Ohio benefitting both the happen when the right people come together to work on the Buckeye Trail and the North Country Trail. right land protection project at the right time. The only thing missing now was the funding. As most of us know, land protection can get expensive quickly. Even when a donor wants to make a charitable donation of real estate, title searches, boundary surveys, and legal ownership transfer documents all begin to make the costs add up. In addition to the hard costs, there are staff and volunteer expenses as they collaborate behind the scenes, building relationships with landowners, negotiating easements as well as purchases, and locating all the potential funding sources locally and regionally. Land protection is one of the most complex and expensive projects we get involved in on the Trail. One anonymous forward-thinking donor in attendance at the Trailfest Celebration thought the event would be a great time to fundraise for trail protection and land preservation. They announced that they would match every dollar that was pledged that evening up to $16,000, NCTA is currently working with the National Park Service to protect property $8000 for each trail. What a wonderful along the Sturgeon River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This acquisition and generous offer! will close a crucial gap in the Trail route and protect an incredible landscape.


Passages

Epitaph to a Trail Bench Builder The workshop is quiet now. Hands that used the saw to cut the wood, drill the holes, miter boards for the benches were warm and friendly in this workshop. On many occasions, to the trail we must go. Make calls for help to carry the boards and don’t forget the hardware, tools to dig the holes, set the bolts and a socket wrench for the nuts and washers. Dig deep for a firm anchor; the upright must hold. Assembled an hour later if the soil wasn’t clay or caving-in sand. A level was used also for this small crew who viewed the nearby trees which set the example of straight and true. Experienced these workers were, having been taught years ago by teachers who imparted the value of excellence. A spot was chosen with a view of Creation, a valley, a river or a meandering creek. Why even a huge white pine was an equal especially if its perch was that of an eagle. Now stand back and look at this work of art. The first to sit is its builder, and then joined by his friends. Comrades they were whose work was for others. This welcomed respite was for their labors extended and the transport of a mile in and the walk back.

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Days have passed. A hiker was the first to enjoy a moment of rest. And then a mother with children who crowded the bench with glee for their short steps had ascended the hill to the point of exhaustion. Weeks went into months when to a backpacker’s delight, on this wilderness table he set his lunch and stove for making tea. And once in a great while a squirrel would lie on its sun-heated plank, or dismantle a pine cone for it too wanted lunch. Winter has come and the bench still has its view. The workshop too rests in quietness with sawdust on the floor and a shiny chisel lies, left on purpose by the man whose back was too sore. The next time you sit on a bench by this longest of America’s trails, enjoy the view and remember its builder who was like a big brother. {A memorial tribute to our friend of the Trail and builder of 19 benches, Bob Rudd, who died on December 17, 2016, at the age of 83. Written by Arlen C. Matson, Grand Traverse Hiking Club, Traverse City, Michigan.}

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NONPROFIT U. S. POSTAGE

North Country Trail Association

PAID

Grand Rapids, MI Permit 340

229 East Main Street Lowell, Michigan 49331

Lorana Jinkerson

Kids clambering over Ohio rocks on a family hike during this spring's Celebration in Hocking Hills.

Come Visit Us! The Lowell office is open to the public Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 229 East Main Street, Lowell, MI 49331 (866) HikeNCT • (616) 897-5987 • Fax (616) 897-6605 The North Country Trail Association develops, maintains, protects and promotes the North Country National Scenic Trail as the premier hiking path across the northern tier of the United States through a trailwide coalition of volunteers and partners. Our vision for the North Country National Scenic Trail is that of the premier footpath of national significance, offering a superb experience for hikers and backpackers in a permanently protected corridor, traversing and interpreting the richly diverse environmental, cultural, and historic features of the northern United States.

North Star Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018)  
North Star Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018)  
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