By Bruce Matthews
Today (Sunday) Andrea and I are here in DC, involved in meetings with the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS), in preparation for our visits to the Hill and to various federal agencies next week.
One of the cool things the PNTS does each year is assemble all the volunteer hours and other data from all the National Scenic and Historic Trails. How does NCTA stack up compared to the rest?
Last year NCTA volunteers reported 73,274 volunteer hours, which was an 8% increase over 2011. Only two other National Scenic Trails reported more hours—Pacific Crest with 92,418 and Appalachian with 239,109. Pretty impressive company to be in, I’d say. But wait—there’s more! When you compare the relative size of our organizational memberships with hours volunteered, an entirely new picture emerges. Based on this data, it seems Appalachian Trail Conservancy members volunteer an average of 5.7 hours per year. Pacific Crest Trail Association members report an average of 10.3 hours. Our NCTAers—our north-country hardy Red Plaid Nation—contribute an average of 29.9 hours per member to build, maintain and tell the story of the North Country Trail.
Sometimes I get to feeling so dang proud to be representing you all. Can’t wait to be sharing this story to our Members of Congress this week!