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 Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Vermont, and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the extension. The actual extension of the congressionally designated National Scenic Trail will require an amendment to the National Trail system Act, which currently establishes the Eastern terminus of the Trail at the New York-Vermont state line.
The study was begun in 2010 through a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and the Middlebury Area Land Trust, with help from Middlebury College. Trail Superintendent Mark Weaver is pleased to have the feasibility study completed, “Having Midwest Regional Director Mike Reynolds sign this Finding of No Significant Impact for the extension of the North Country Trail is a big milestone for the Trail, and takes us one step closer to connecting two great National Scenic Trails with a great hiking experience through some beautiful Vermont countryside.”
The North Country National Scenic Trail was authorized by Congress in 1980 to provide an off-road trail for non-motorized recreation from Crown Point, New York, to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota. The approximately 40 mile extension in Vermont will provide a significant connection between the longest trail in the national scenic trail system to the best known. To date, approximately 2,700 miles of the trail have been developed and are used for public non-motorized recreation, primarily hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. This study provides the NPS recommendation on extending the trail, which would need a Congressional amendment to the National Trail System Act, which authorized the trail in 1980.
The trail passes through federal, state, and local government lands and private lands where permitted by the managing agency. Lands or easements can also be purchased from willing sellers (not by eminent domain) to secure a route for the trail. The National Park Service (NPS) is the federal administrator for the trail, and relies on cooperation with other government entities and the efforts of volunteers who are the primary trail builders and maintainers. Most of the volunteers are members of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA), which has its national headquarters in Lowell, Michigan, and coordinates the work of over 30 chapters and affiliated trail clubs across the length of the trail.
The planning documents are available on the NPS park planning website. See a map from the NPS’ study below.