Reroute Project Continues On Section Of North Country Trail
For the past few weeks, crews have been working on behalf of hikers everywhere on a reroute project for a section of the North Country Trail.
“This particular project is part of a recreational trails program grant that the Laurentian Lakes chapter received, and there’s actually two projects associated with it – this one, where we’re rerouting about a 2 ½ mile section of trail, and another one where we’re putting in boardwalks in Itasca State Park,” says Ray Vlasak, the Vice President of the Laurentian Lakes chapter of the North Country Trail.
“In the past 2 ½ weeks, we’ve completed the eastern portion of this 2 ½ mile segment. Much of our work includes using basic hand tools,” says Sam Charpentier, the crew leader for the Brainerd Summer Conservation Corps.
A majority of the crew is a part of the Conservation Corps Brainerd chapter, but a select few of the workers are volunteers.
Edsel Gunderson, one of those volunteers, says, “It’s just something you can give back. Give it to the public and something you can do that you aren’t being paid for anymore. And it’s good exercise, very good exercise.”
The reason for the reroute is to make sure that’s it’s only used for hiking. That means no ATVs, bikes, or snowmobiles.
Vlasak says, “The current trail is on some forest roads that are used by motorized vehicles, and in order for the National Park Service to certify this section of trail, there can’t be any motorized activity on it.”
When the trail is complete, it will look smooth, and hikers will not have to worry about tripping over any branches or big rocks.
“Another really satisfying thing about it is just being able to really see the progress that we’ve made. It started off as sort of a grassy, root-filled pathway and now it’s a trail,” says Ian Foote, one of the Conservation Corps members.
The crew still has a few more weeks to go before they’re done. When the project is complete, they say they just hope to see people getting out and using it.
Another corps member, Chelsea Moran, says about her time spent on the trail, “It’s kind of a way to just disconnect, you know? I mean we’re just surrounded by so much electronics and media and it’s just really four days out in the wilderness just to do work.”
The crew still has about a mile of the reroute project to go.