By Delaini Disher, NCTA Next Generation Coalition Intern
If you’re familiar with the Hike 50 and Hike 100 Challenges, then you probably know that 2018 marks 50 years since the installment of the National Trails System Act. But have you heard of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act? Both acts were approved in 1968, making this year the shared anniversary of two important acts protecting and promoting beautiful public lands. We have been celebrating the 50th anniversary by challenging hikers to complete 50 or 100 miles on the NCT, and rewarding them with correlating patches.
While there are still plenty of beautiful days to go out and earn your patch, we encourage you to find a section of the Trail where you can enjoy one of the many wild and scenic rivers that you can encounter on the NCT. The old growth forests, prairies, and pine stands of the Trail are awe inspiring and beautiful, but imagine a hike where you encounter a river running through the forest, changing the landscape, adding biodiversity to your spotting list. Think of the sound of a tannin-rich waterfall crashing over glacier-carved rocks. The North Country Trail as we know it would not be complete without these majestic bodies of water, moving through the land and providing a wellspring of life to the living, breathing things we join when we take a hike. The next time you take a hike consider how the trail you’re on is 50 years in the making, and imagine keeping it like this for 50 more. Consider also the rivers, flowing to and from the Great Lakes that the Trail winds between. Let’s be grateful for their beauty and natural function, and let’s work hard to keep them wild and scenic.
Interested in finding a Wild & Scenic River near you? Explore this special online map that lets you see what sections of Wild & Scenic River are near the NCT.