2018-02-01 / Columns

HSS North Country Trail Chapter

Business Spotlight
By Rene Halberg


This business spotlight is presented by the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce. Member businesses are selected at random by the chamber, and information provided here is written by the chamber and Downtown Development Authority staffs. Congratulations to this week’s business in the spotlight, from the Chamber of Commerce and The St. Ignace News. This business spotlight is presented by the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce. Member businesses are selected at random by the chamber, and information provided here is written by the chamber and Downtown Development Authority staffs. Congratulations to this week’s business in the spotlight, from the Chamber of Commerce and The St. Ignace News. Let the fun times begin: Head to the North Country Trail to enjoy some peace and quiet as you take in the beautiful outdoors. The trails are a great place to be, no matter what time of year. This time of year, you will need to grab some snowshoes or skis before heading out.

The North Country Trail is maintained by the Hiawatha Shore to Shore Chapter of the North Country Trail Association in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The trails are open 24/7. There is no winter grooming, however, the trails are maintained, promoted, and improved by volunteers throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The trails are free to enjoy. The local Shore to Shore Chapter section of trail mainly sees day hikers, however, the number of backpackers using the trail is growing.

Stop by the Chamber of Commerce office, pick up a trail map, and head out to enjoy the beauty and quiet that awaits you. You should never go hiking without letting someone know where you will be. Bring along water, a first aid kit, a lunch or snack, map, compass, and whistle. Good footwear is a plus.

I was blessed to have backpacked the trail two years ago with my son Will Stypick and friends Josh and Jody Kaiser. We covered 12 miles, slept in tents, then hiked six miles more the next morning. What a great experience!

There is a half million acres of playground waiting for you to explore from the start of the North Country Trail to the end.

The following is a brief history of the trail from Jody Kaiser:


Scenes along the Eastern Upper Peninsula portion of the North Country Trail. Scenes along the Eastern Upper Peninsula portion of the North Country Trail. “The North Country National Scenic Trail was authorized in 1980 and is administered by the National Park Service, but the 4,600 miles of trail have been built and maintained by the many volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and its partners. There are 28 chapters of the NCTA in seven states, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Our chapter, covering Mackinac County, is the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter (HSS).

“The Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter’s responsibilities begin at the south end of the Mackinac Bridge, through Straits State Park, and into our Trail Town St. Ignace. The trail then continues northwest along the south side of Brevort Lake, over the white pine-covered dunes, and then heads northeast across the sandy plains covered with red pine, Jack pine, and blueberries. It then heads along the north section of the Mackinac Wilderness, and up through the Niagara Escarpment covered in mixed northern hardwoods. From there, the trail heads north to Lake Superior and Whitefish Bay and then on to Tahquamenon Falls, and ends at the Two-Hearted River Campground for a total of 138.5 miles.”

This section of the trail is very remote with long distances between towns and amenities. The first restaurant is 80 miles from St. Ignace and there is a camp store at the lower Tahquamenon Falls, but that is about it. So if you are looking for a day hike or an extended time on the trail, the North Country Trail is the trail for you. The local chapter is active in trail development and maintenance, but the NCTA also provides advocacy at the federal level to fund, protect, and inform policy makers about issues pertaining to the North Country Trail.

Volunteers are always needed. Go to www.northcountrytrail.org today and see how you can help.

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