We’re excited to announce that we’ve published two more sets of maps in our downloadable map series – the Manistee and Allegheny National Forests.
Over the past couple years we’ve seen a huge spike in popularity (and one could infer use) of the NCT across all seven states.
Historically, the Manistee and Allegheny National Forests have been two of our most popular segments (based on map sales).
For that reason, we’re excited to be publishing these maps.
You can find links to the maps here:
However, April 2018 will bring with it a closure to “Red Bridge” on Coates Highway, the most popular section in the Manistee National Forest.
Red Bridge forms the southern connection between the North Country Trail and the Manistee River Trail.
Even though this is an extremely popular section of trail, we’re encouraged to see the NCT community turning this into a positive opportunity to explore other parts of the NCT!
Here are a few words from the NCTA’s Michigan Regional Trail coordinator, Kenny Wawsczyk, on this topic.
Let’s face it, there’s a fascination with “loop trails”. As a 4,600 mile linear trail even the NCT can become jealous of the amount of use these much shorter loop trails get. Many of these trails utilize the NCT for half of its loop and come hiking season some of these can become extremely crowded. These 2-3 day long backpacking adventures allow hikers to park their vehicle, hike in one direction, and come back a different way.
As hikers, we love to be outdoors and have that feeling of seclusion that takes us away from busy everyday life. So why do so many hike in a loop amongst other groups of strangers to try and “get away”? There are countless of out and back hikes that people can enjoy in solitude. Not to mention all the unique features found along the trail that provides a different experience from each direction.
With our new and upcoming technical series maps along with our online interactive map, it has never been easier for people to plan their hike. Simply find a parking spot and hike to a nearby campsite, enjoy the night and hike back to your vehicle. Determining mileage is simple with the half-mile waypoints and the detail from these maps, as well as our online map, will provide assurance no matter the hiker’s level of experience.
Our office is guilty of it too though, for years we’ve been sending curious hikers to the Manistee River Loop to hike the rolling hills and take in the scenic views of the Manistee River. It’s an amazing place that includes a 245’ pedestrian only wooden suspension bridge, but this year the road bridge that connects the loop on the south end is going to be completely removed. Every year this trail is packed with backpackers wanting to “get away” on a weekend expedition, but this year the bridge completely changes their plans. This is making us rethink how we promote sections of our trail. There are lots of other beautiful sections that follow a river or have camping destinations at both ends. There are even new loop trails that have been developed by Chapters that don’t get as much recognition as they should. The out and back experience just needs some promotion and we have the trail to do it.