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North Country Trail Column: Adopt a hiking trail on National Trails Day

The Laurentian Lakes Chapter seeks volunteers to adopt a portion of the North Country Trail and help keep it in good condition for all outdoor enthusiasts. (Submitted photo)

On Saturday, June 2, people across the country will come together to collectively improve 2,802 miles of trails across the U.S.

The Laurentian Lakes Chapter (LLC) of the North Country Trail invites you to join this nationwide effort by attending a Trail Adopter Day at the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. A light lunch will be served at noon followed by an overview of what's involved in being a trail adopter.

National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society each June to encourage people to improve a trail as well as enjoy the outdoors. The LLC trail adopter program consists of volunteers who maintain a section of the trail to keep it in good condition for hikers, mushroom hunters, birdwatchers, photographers, wildflower enthusiasts and everyone else who enjoys being out in nature.

This year also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, enacted in 1968 to authorize a national system of trails. The first trails established under this act were the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest trails. The North Country Trail, formed in 1980, spans 4,600 miles from New York to central North Dakota. The LLC is responsible for 72 miles of the trail — from Itasca State Park to Frazee, all maintained by trail adopters.

So what's involved with trail adopting? Most people are familiar with the "Adopt a Highway" program where volunteers pick up trash along a section of the highway to keep the landscape looking beautiful. Likewise, LLC trail adopters insure the trail is in good condition by clearing branches, checking trail signs for repair, repainting the blue blazes and mowing as needed.

Interested? RSVP by May 30 to Karen Stenberg to register for this event at 218-841-2857 or llc@northcountrytrail.org and mark your calendars for June 2 at the Discovery Center in the Tamarac Wildlife Refuge.

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