Blogging the North Country Trail

by admin on October 5, 2011

Welcome! The NCTA’s Insight blog is your source for extended coverage and inside information on what’s happening on and around the North Country Trail.


Thru Hiker Oversight?

by Bruce Matthews on July 7, 2014


The recent increase in making end-to-end thru hikes of the North Country National Scenic Trail, including accomplishing it in one season, has led to a number of questions having to do with NCTA’s oversight of such hikes and claims for their accomplishment. While NCTA welcomes and encourages such attempts, the Association neither assumes nor desires any role in their oversight or claims related to them. The NCTA’s Long Distance Hiker Committee maintains a record of hikers accomplishing E2E’s or one season thru-hikes as well as significant section hiking accomplishments, but this is the extent of NCTA’s role. Thru-hikers, E2E’s and state section hikers may apply to the NCTA’s committee for a patch with state rocker bars to indicate their achievements.
Attempts to hike end-to-end on any long trail are challenging. Trail conditions are sometimes impossible to assess from a distance and hikers may encounter barriers which make the trail impassible or temporarily unsafe to attempt. Long distance hikers seeking to “bag” sections of the NCNST or the entire trail may take their own initiative in making a temporary re-route in such instances, without the fear of some long-armed oversight group attempting to manage what can best and more safely be done on the ground, in the moment. While the Long Distance Hiking Policy of the North Country Trail Association states that hikers are expected to make every effort to follow off-road trail where it exists, there is not, nor can there be, any policing of hikers or hiking claims. In fact, policing of hikers is not something we would deem desirable even if it could be accomplished. We rely on the honor system, as do all the long trails that recognize long-distance hikes. It is expected that each particular hiker will conscientiously attempt to use the official, designated off-road routes.
At present NCTA’s records show there have been 13 individuals completing what is considered an end-to-ender. Because the Trail’s route and length has varied since its 1980 authorization (and it continues to do so) there is little point in making comparisons among these pioneers based on their routes or methods. NCTA recognizes these pioneers:
Thru-hikers (E2E in one season)
Ed Talone (1994)
Andrew Skurka (2004-5)
M.J. “Eb,” aka “Nimblewill Nomad” Eberhart (2009)
Luke “Strider” Jordan (2013)
Al Learned (2013)

E2E Section Hikers (date completed)
Peter Wolfe (1980)
Chet Fromm (1995)
Allen Shoup (2005)
Don Beattie (2005)
Bart Smith (2007)
Joan Young (2010, Vermont 2014)

Completed using hike and bike
Carolyn Hoffman (1978)
Judy Geisler (2011)

More information can be found at , and on the NCTA website here:

Celebrate National Trails Day on the NCT!

by mdavis on June 5, 2014

Question: What national “holiday” is celebrated this Saturday (June 7th)?

Answer: National Trails Day®.


According to the American Hiking Society, the 22nd annual National Trails Day® will be “the country’s largest celebration of trails” which will “bring together outdoor enthusiasts across the country.”  It is a “celebration of America’s magnificent trail system and its countless supporters and volunteers. More than 2,000 nationwide events will take place including trail maintenance, hiking, paddling, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, running, trail celebrations and more!”  Learn more about National Trails Day at AHS’ website.

Many events will take place along the North Country National Scenic Trail, including:

North Dakota – SRV Chapter’s event at Fort Ransom State Park

Minnesota – Grand Opening event at Maplewood State Park, Laurentian Lakes Chapter’s hike at Tamarac NWR, Itasca Moraine Chapter’s picnic and hike, Superior Hiking Trail Association’s hikes and workday

Wisconsin – Brule-St. Croix Chapter’s hike and picnic, Chequamegon Chapter’s hike/pot-luck, Heritage Chapter’s trail building event at Copper Falls State Park

Michigan – North Country Trail Hikers Chapter’s hike (part of the Marquette Trails Festival weekend event)

Ohio – Buckeye Trail Association’s New Straitsville Work Weekend at Wildcat Hollow

Get out there onto your favorite trail this Saturday and celebrate National Trails Day!


April 28, 2014

Volunteers named Midwest Regional Hartzog Award winners

The National Park Service announced that NCTA Chequamegon Chapter volunteers, Rick Pomerleau and Mary Stenberg have won the Midwest Regional Hartzog Award in the Individual category. Rick and Mary have come to be known as the “dynamic duo” along the NCNST. While either one is deserving of this individual award, it is the collaborative effort […]

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April 28, 2014

Trail Alert: Ott Preserve – Emmett Charter Township, MI

  A portion of the NCT in the Ott Biological Preserve in Calhoun County has been temporarily re-routed while the Calhoun County Trailway is constructed in the same corridor as the northern portion of the Trail.   Please see the Chief Noonday Chapter page for more information:

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February 13, 2014

2014 Trails Advocacy Week Summary

Executive Director Bruce Matthews has been in Washington DC this week, supporting Trails Advocacy Week with the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS): Here is his summary of the week as he wades through weather delays and cancellations trying to get back home: Trails Advocacy Week 2014 is history. We’ve met with federal agency […]

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February 12, 2014

D.C. Blog 5: Tuesday’s Hill visits

Blog # 4: Report on Monday’s Hill visits Executive Director Bruce Matthews is participating in Trails Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. He is blogging his experience. Hill Visits: Tuesday I visited the offices of Rep. Dave Camp (MI-04), Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02),  and Bill Owens (NY-21). Owens’ NY district includes the Adirondacks and will be […]

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February 11, 2014

Trails Advocacy Week in D.C.: Blog 4–Monday’s Hill Visits

Executive Director Bruce Matthews is participating in Trails Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. He is blogging his experience. Hill Visits: Monday We have three main objectives as we visit Members of Congress this week: 1. Advocate their support for continued federal funding of the NCNST; 2. Advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund—including full […]

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February 11, 2014

D.C. Blog # 3: Advocating with Federal Agencies

Executive Director Bruce Matthews is in Washington DC for Trails Advocacy Week. He is blogging about his activities. One of the key elements of Trails Advocacy Week this week in Washington DC is meeting with the federal agency partners who respectively administer or have key roles with the management of national scenic and historic trails. […]

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February 9, 2014

The Partnership: Trails Advocacy Week Blog # 2–by ED Bruce Matthews

Its my sense that the Red Plaid Nation isn’t that aware of how the NCTA and the North Country Trail relate to the larger National Trails System. Hike the Hill/Advocacy Week in Washington DC (where I’m at this week representing the NCTA) brings together representatives from the 11 National Scenic Trails and the 19 National […]

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February 8, 2014

2014 NCTA Hike the Hill Blog Post # 1 from ED Bruce Matthews

I’m on my way to Washington, DC—composing this first blog on the plane. As with previous Hike the Hill efforts I’ll be representing NCTA at Partnership for the National Trails System and American Hiking Society events, attending meetings with agency representatives (National Park Service, US Forest Service) and most importantly making Capitol Hill visits with […]

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