Partners help make the North Country National Scenic Trail a success. (from left) Regional Director Tom Melius, Superintendent of the North County Trail Mark Weaver; Executive Director of the North Country Trail Association Bruce Mathews; Laurentian Lakes Chapter of the North Country Trail President Ray Vlasak; Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Manager Neil Powers and National Roads and Trails Coordinator Nathan Caldwell. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
New Section of the North Country
National Scenic Trail Unveiled at
Tamarac NWR for National Trails Day
By Tina Shaw
June 3 was National Trails Day and it was fitting that Regional Director Tom Melius made the trek to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate.
With more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails across our refuges, waterfowl production areas and hatcheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to work with our conservation partners to get visitors outside and hiking. Working with the North Country Trail Association, the staff at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge did just that and unveiled a new section of the North Country Trail. They marked the occasion with a two-day celebration that welcomed both avid and new hikers alike to learn more through guided hikes, lectures and wildlife photography sessions.
"Trails like this are important to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they provide our visitors with a way to connect with something larger than themselves," said Regional Director Tom Melius.
Melius continued, "Wildlife-based recreational opportunities like hiking, birding and photography are a priority for us, not just because they offer Americans a place to learn about the great outdoors, but because they offer us a place to relax and find a quiet moment away from our cell phones and computers."
Volunteers from the Laurentian Lakes Chapter made this new 21-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail a reality, along with the coordination and construction oversight from the North Country Trail Association and the National Park Service, who administers the trail.
The North Country National Scenic Trail is a 4,600-mile trail that journeys from the Adirondack Mountains of New York to the plains of North Dakota. The newly completed section in Becker County Minnesota runs from Greenwater Lake Scientific and Natural Area south through Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and is an extension a contiguous 150-mile segment heading north from County Highway 35 and then east to Itasca State Park and, ultimately, to Remer in Cass County.
This new segment in Becker County represents a significant advancement for the North Country Trail in Minnesota and is the result of the efforts of the Laurentian Lakes Chapter volunteers; two Legacy trail grants obtained by Becker County; and a great partnership between the North Country Trail Association, Becker County, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, two private landowners who host the Trail on their land, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
For more information about Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/tamarac/