North Country National Scenic Trail gets 'unit' status from National Park Service
The North Country National Scenic Trail is now an official “unit” of the National Park Service.
That status gives the NCT official recognition in the National Park Service and access to more resources and funding. It also provides equal legal standing with the other trails and parks the National Park Service oversees.
The North Country Trail is the longest of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. It stretches 4,800 miles across from North Dakota to Vermont, and includes both the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.
Six of these 11 trails are administered by the National Park Service but at the time of their official National Scenic Trail designation, only three were identified as units: the Appalachian Trail, Natchez Trace Trail, and Potomac Heritage Trail. Unit status was missing, for no clear reason, from wording in the law for the North Country Trail, Ice Age Trail, and New England Trail. This means they were not recognized as units of the National Park Service, and thus, not promoted to the American public.
“Now, when the National Park Service tells the story of the amazing scenic and recreational opportunities provided by the National Park System, it will tell our stories too,” reflected Tom Gilbert, former National Park Service Superintendent of the North Country National Scenic Trail.