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.

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2014 Trails Advocacy Week Summary

by jdecator on February 13, 2014

Capitol view

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 representatives, Members of Congress and their staffs, and as a Partnership. We honored the retiring trails coordinator for the National Park Service, Steve Elkinton.  We learned some things about new administrative directions and we advocated strongly on behalf of the national scenic and historic trails. We laid the groundwork for the introduction of the North Country NST Re-Route Bill of 2014,that will include BOTH the MN Arrowhead as well as the Eastern Terminus extension into Vermont to connect the NCNST with the Appalachian Trail. I came away with a feeling of cautious enthusiasm that maybe, just maybe in this second session of the 113th Congress, they might actually make some legislation.

Some key takeaways for the week, in no particular order:

  • The PNTS appears poised to make some major changes in governance and funding structure that ought to make it more focused and effective as the umbrella organization advocating for and advancing the agenda of all the national scenic and historic trails;
  • The PNTS seems likely to closely examine how it intends to do future Trails Advocacy Weeks, including relationships with partner organization American Hiking Society and its sponsored “Hike the Hill;”
  • The three federal agencies who manage national scenic and historic trails (National Park Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management) have key folks in leadership roles who “get” what we do, and are helping us advance the national trails agenda.
  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund will continue to be our collective best strategy for funding trails projects, both collaboratively as the PNTS and individually through working with agency partners as well as the states’ allocations. NCTA’s advocacy efforts at full funding of LWCF as well as its 2015 permanent re-authorization are well-focused and justified.
  • NCTA’s efforts to build relationships with key Members of Congress and their staffs continue to be another important aspect of advocacy; and we must make every effort to engage NCTA Advocacy Committee in building relationships with each Member’s offices in their home states and districts.
  • We’re getting traction for a jointly introduced (House and Senate) NCT Re-Route Bill of 2014. The entire Vermont delegation, MN Senators Klobuchar and Franken and MN-08 Rep. Nolan seem pretty on-board with this strategy, which we’ll be working on in the next couple weeks. In addition Senators Levin and Stabenow (MI) and Senator Gillibrand (NY) are all ready to sign on. We’ll need a lot of work to line up some Republican co-sponsors, but that will be high on the agenda as well. We laid some good groundwork in DC that we’ll be working hard to leverage in these next few weeks.

D.C. Blog 5: Tuesday’s Hill visits

by jdecator on February 12, 2014

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 affected by the eastern terminus extension into Vermont.  At the Congressional Trails Reception I was able to congratulate Congressman Petri (WI-06) on his Vanguard Award NCTA gave him last year.  Of particular note were the four staffers from Rep. Nolan (MN-08) that attended and sought us out. We’re sensing a possible sea change and maybe even some enthusiasm for Congress to finally start getting some things accomplished….

Today we’ll be on the Senate side, visiting 7 senators’ staffs and best of all, the entire Vermont congressional delegation, after which we’ll have a very good idea of next steps with our 2014 NCNST Re-Route bill.

Cannon HOB 2

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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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February 6, 2014

Extending the NCT into Vermont is one step closer to reality!

From a 1/9/14 National Park Service press release North Country National Scenic Trail Feasibility Study for Extension to the Appalachian Trail in Vermont Completed The National Park Service has completed the Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment to extend the North Country National Scenic Trail approximately 40 miles through Addison County, Vermont to connect with the […]

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January 22, 2014

NCTA Conference Future Survey

What is the future of NCTA Conference? The NCTA Board wants to use your valuable Association resources in the most efficient manner. Our Annual Conference can be an opportunity to: · Gather and meet other Trail heroes, · Gain inspiration and enthusiasm by hiking the Trail in different areas · Share methods, share successes, · […]

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January 15, 2014

NCTA tries Crowd-Funding

NCTA has launched a project using Kickstarter, a crowd-funding internet platform that opens up infinite possibilities to create awareness and raise funds. This project is to create a music video that recognizes and honors NCTA’s hard-working trail building and maintaining volunteers. To check it out, go here: NCTA Kickstarter Project . We’re hoping our friends will share […]

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January 7, 2014

Summer 2014 NCT Extended Outing Planned

NCTA 2014 EXTENDED OUTING: Hike NCNST Onondaga Trail and Finger Lakes Trail in New York July 13-19, 2014 $610 Day hiking on the North Country National Scenic Trail in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Central New York. Each day hike a 6 to 10 mile section of the NCNST with day pack, using vans […]

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