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AmeriCorps NCCC workers and volunteers clear brush and roots on a new segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail near Ponsford. From left are Karen Stenberg, a member of the Laurentian Lakes Chapter of the trail association, and AmeriCorps NCCC workers Tom Binkley and Autumn Last. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Progress made on North Country Trail

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Park Rapids Enterprise
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Progress made on North Country Trail
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) members are assisting the North Country Trail Association, Laurentian Lakes Chapter, through the construction and clearing of a new segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail in Becker County.

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A team of 12 AmeriCorps NCCC members are constructing approximately 10 miles of new trail near Ponsford for six weeks. The group began working June 7 and will work until July 16.

"We really hope to get 10 miles completed," said Allison Hoensheid, AmeriCorps NCCC member. "It's slow work, cutting roots, clearing brush."

Tasks for the team include removing brush, constructing new treadway, building boardwalks and bridges over wet areas and placing signs. The work completed during this time is assisting Becker County in meeting its goal of increasing natural resource based tourism in the region.

The NCCC team is continuing the work of their sponsoring organization, the Laurentian Lakes Chapter of the North Country Trail Association. This organization is made up of 50 members from the Becker County area. They are continuing the building of the trail under the National Trails System Act, which calls for the construction of the North Country Trail (NCT).

Karen Stenberg, of Detroit Lakes, is a member of the Laurentian Lakes Chapter. She helped work on the trail this week with the AmeriCorps group.

"This is the first time we've had an AmeriCorps group come help," she said. "It's going to be a real help in getting this completed."

The group has received numerous grants including some from Becker County and the Federal Recreational Trails Program. Through the work they are completing, the Laurentian Lakes Chapter hopes to continue developing a natural feature for non-motorized recreation as well as create a positive economic impact on the local community. More information on the NCT is available at www.northcountrytrail.org/ llc.

"Our team is excited to work in Ponsford and hopes to accomplish our goal of clearing ten miles of trail before the conclusion of our project," said NCCC member Greg Amsler, of San Anselmo, Calif.

A public hike will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 10. The public can come to hike a portion of the trail completed by the AmeriCorps group. People interested in hiking can meet at the corner of Highway 37 and Elbow Lake Road in Becker County. A potluck lunch will be after the hike.

AmeriCorps NCCC, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides opportunities to members, who work to improve the environment, enhance education, increase public safety, help with disaster relief and assist in other unmet human needs.

NCCC members must be 18-24 and complete at least 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month program.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561
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