By Jean Ruzicka /

“We’re open for business,” Itasca Moraine Chapter volunteer Byron Knapp joked this week of crews heading out to ready  the area NCST for summer hikers. “Follow the blue blazes,” he advises of trees marked  to designate trail routes.

Volunteers were out in the fall to rehabilitate an area of the trail on county land near Itasca State Park that had been logged. They were continuing maintenance (sawing fallen trees and picking up twigs) this week.  The Itasca Moraine Chapter’s members are from Bemidji, Walker, Hackensack and Park Rapids areas.

They work on the trail from near Longville to Itasca State Park, approximately 75 miles of trail certified by the National Park Service. Information on becoming a volunteer can by found at Maps of the NCST with Hubbard and Cass County trailhead designations are available at the Chamber, Itasca State Park and Forestry stations in Park Rapids and Walker. The trail is closed to horse and motor vehicle traffic.