Monday, September 28, 2015

National Scenic Trail Route Approved Through Adirondacks

North Country National Scenic Trail MapAfter 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.

North Country Scenic Trail RouteThe 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.

North Country Scenic Trail markerThe 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).

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5 Responses

  1. I see the gap is still there. It’s not a continuous trail with a gap. When this route was originally proposed someone (I forget who) proposed an alternative that didn’t have a gap. Apparently the DEC didn’t like that idea.

  2. Woody says:

    Apparently DEC would rather do something half-a$$ed than do it right the first time. Yay, DEC issued a plan to route the NC Trail through the Adirondacks. Too bad it’s unworkable and will only result in decades of revision. I’ve hiked the NP Trail, but I would not bother with this version of the NC Trail, for two glaring reasons:

    (1) Hiking almost 20 miles of road through Speculator is very low on my bucket list of things to do in life.

    (2) I lack access to a helicopter to transport me directly from North Creek to the top of Moxham Mtn.

  3. Curt Austin says:

    Must these things take ten years? 120 monthly meetings? I guess so.

    Anyway, I’m enjoying the thought that the gap at North Creek might soon be filled by a plan to develop a rail trail from North Creek to Tahawus, along which the NC Trail can run as far as Northwoods Club Road where the map suggests it turns east across the Boreas River. As much as I like Moxham Mountain, trails of this nature are not supposed to go up and down a lot of mountains. This route would be very cool, crossing the 314-foot bridge below the gorge section of the Hudson. Some great campsites there, where the Boreas joins the Hudson.

  4. Kyle says:

    I wonder if they’ll publish an alternate map of how to avoid being poisoned by fracking water all through western Pennsylvania.

  5. Kurt Seitz says:

    Ten years of planning is a major understatement! I first worked on finding a route for the NCT through the Adirondacks in 1990. We had years of meetings before the DEC shelved the plan. A new effort was undertaken by others about ten years ago. Mary Coffin especially has taken great effort to come up with a route acceptable to the powers that be. The plan that has finally been approved is fairly close to the route I first proposed 25 years ago. I’m not going to question Mary’s judgement in making changes that I haven’t been privy to. I’m certain there are good reasons for the route now chosen. In particular, I’m sure that many people would prefer to see the NCT use the current rail bridge over the Hudson River at some future time. Congratulations to all who persevered in bringing the plan to this point!