After 10 years of planning, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NC-NST), effective October 10.
The plan routes the projected 4,600-mile National Scenic Trail through the middle of the Adirondack Park. The NC-NST traverses the northern tier of the United States between Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain and Lake Sakakawea State Park on the Missouri River in North Dakota. About 2,700 miles of the trail have been completed so far. Within the Adirondack Park, the trail is expected to be about 158 miles long when complete, between Forestport in Oneida County and Crown Point.
The approved NC-NST plan for the Adirondack Park prefers a central route that avoids the High Peaks and uses about 81 miles of existing foot trails; another 39 miles of trail will need to be built. An estimated 27 miles of road walking will make what are hoped to be temporary connections between trailheads. There is a notable gap in the trail between North Creek and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.
The trail route intersects eight Adirondack Forest Preserve management areas: Black River Wild Forest, West Canada Lake Wilderness, Moose River Plains Wild Forest, Jessup River Wild Forest, Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, Hoffman Notch Wilderness and Hammond Pond Wild Forest. Where new trail segments are needed, the proposed route is expected to be incorporated into future Unit Management Plans (UMPs) for these management units. The route is also expected to cross four conservation easement tracts: the North Lake Tract, Perkins Clearing – Speculator Tree Farm Easements, and the Lyme Easement in Crown Point.
With the completion of the Adirondack Park Trail Plan, sections of existing trail within the Park can now be marked and maintained as the NC-NST. These sections will join others already established in New York State. The Trail enters the state at Allegany State Park, where it then overlaps with the Finger Lakes Trail for 460 miles.
The 1980 federal legislation establishing the North Country NST as part of the National Trails System requires that it be developed and managed through a federal-state-local-private partnership with the National Park Service providing overall administration and coordination.
To date, Congress has authorized the establishment of 11 National Scenic Trails patterned on the Appalachian Trail.
A pdf of the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail is available online.
You can learn more about the North Country National Scenic Trail here.
Photo below courtesy Wikimedia user MDuchek).