North Country Trail Association

Ways to Volunteer

The North Country Trail Association and the Trail itself exist because of robust, impressive and dedicated volunteerism.

Thousands of volunteers build, maintain, protect and promote the North Country Trail every day, and the Association strives to provide the best resources to the volunteers. NCTA Chapters and Affiliate organizations are established across the eight Trail states, constantly hosting work days, group hikes and more.

There are countless opportunities to get involved or expand these efforts. Build and maintain trail, lead a hike, represent the NCTA at an event, contribute written content or photography, join Chapter Leadership, educate groups about the Trail and the NCTA. If you have a desire to help, we can help you find an opportunity. Read through the NCTA Chapter Leadership Handbook for more details of volunteer opportunities. Find out what Chapters are near you, then follow their events calendars or Facebook pages to connect.

*As long as you continue to report your volunteer hours on a regular basis (at least once a year at a minimum), you must only update your volunteer agreement when there is a change in personal information, or if you wish to make any changes to the volunteer positions you wish to perform.

Featured Segment

Sarah Collier: Volunteer Spotlight

Sarah Collier will spend 2020 as President Trainee of the Western Michigan Chapter and officially become Chapter President in January 2021. An avid outdoorswoman with a desire to make a positive impact on the spaces she uses and loves, Sarah is excited to "work with others to maintain, complete, protect and promote our beautiful North Country Trail."

Read more

Support the Trail, Support the Work

Trail Development and Maintenance

The North Country Trail extends for thousands of miles across eight states. Its layout, design, construction and maintenance require the participation of a myriad of individuals and groups. Since the early 1980s, the NCTA, with its Chapters and Affiliates, has been the principal partner with the National Park Service working to create and maintain the Trail. Read through the NCT Handbook: Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance to learn more about the standards that guide our volunteers' building and maintenance work.

Hike Leadership

NCTA Chapters establish activities on and for the North Country Trail in their designated geographic areas, and a group hike is a popular event choice. Chapter Hike Leaders are huge assets for building Chapter membership. The best hike leaders are those who know a bit about a lot of things in the area, and who can maintain a reasonable pace for hikes and understand that safety is the top priority. They also involve others who may have different fields of expertise to expand the value of the outing.

Marketing and Outreach

The tireless and motivated volunteers are truly the soul and spirit behind the operation and management of the NCT, forging local partnerships with landowners and engaging people of all ages with the wonder of the Trail. Chapters need effective outreach strategies and outreach leadership to promote the NCTA and get people involved. Marketing and outreach volunteers help organize events, improve public information, and build partnerships within the community. They do not have to be good at any of the specific activities planned; rather they need to be able to attract “specialists” within the membership or friends outside the Chapter to lead hikes, give programs, or teach skills.

Chapter Leadership

It’s the job of the Chapter Leadership to ensure that our volunteers feel supported, appreciated, recognized, and are given the direction and support needed to do their jobs. It’s also critical that that they represent NCTA in a positive light. Chapter Leadership oversees operations for the Chapter, including volunteer management, trail management, trail promotion, and communication with the NCTA headquarters. Chapter officers (e.g. President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary) must be NCTA members in good standing according to our bylaws.


Advocacy is the art of building relationships with people representing government agencies and legislators. Educating and persuading officials and Members of Congress or state legislatures to support the NCT is a critically important function for the NCTA, at national as well as statewide and local levels. No one has more influence with a legislator than one who lives and votes in the district or state the legislator represents. Cultivating a corps of NCTA volunteers skilled in and willing to build and maintain key connections at local, state and national levels is an important objective.

Header photo by Matt Davis

North Country Trail Association
229 E. Main St., Lowell, MI 49331


North Country Trail