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July 31, 2012

Open house meeting Aug. 8 in Hurley

HURLEY, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity at an upcoming open house meeting to review and comment on two alternative 3-mile wide corridors within which a foot path could be routed for the North Country National Scenic Trail.

The section of trail would run from the Copper Peak Ski Area in Gogebic County Michigan to Copper Falls State Park in Ashland County.

The open house meeting will be held Wednesday, August 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the County Boardroom, Iron County Courthouse, 300 Taconite St., Hurley. A formal presentation on the project will be made at 6 p.m. by the National Park Service and the North Country Trail Association.

Representatives of the National Park Service, North Country Trail Association, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be present to answer any questions, and take comments.

The North Country National Scenic Trail was authorized by Congress in 1980 and will extend 4,600 miles from Crown Point, New York to the Missouri River in North Dakota, crossing eight states. In Wisconsin, the North Country Trail clips the northwest corner of the state for 200 miles, passing through Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland and Iron counties.

Approximately 2,200 miles of the trail have been developed and are open to public use. It is open to hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. On some sections, other non-motorized uses are permitted.

The two alternative 3-mile-wide corridors presented in the plan include: Alternative 1, heading south from Copper Peak to the towns of Ironwood and Hurley; and Alternative 2, heading west from Copper Peak to Saxon Harbor, with a spur trail north to Little Girls Point, and the shore of Lake Superior. The trail would be constructed as access is obtained through a variety of agreements.

The trail traverses federal, state, and local government lands and private lands, where permitted by the owner. Lands or easements can also be purchased from willing sellers (not by eminent domain) to secure a route for the trail. The National Park Service is the federal administrator for the trail, but relies on cooperation with other government entities and the efforts of volunteers who are the primary builders and maintainers of the trail.

The volunteers are members of the North Country Trail Association, which has its national headquarters in Lowell, Michigan, and coordinates the work of 30 chapters and affiliated trail clubs across the length of the trail.

The planning area for this corridor plan covers the territory of two local chapters: the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter based in Wakefield, Mich., and the Heritage Chapter, based in eastern Wisconsin.

"We are excited to be able to work with the National Park Service to close the gap on the North Country Trail between Michigan and Wisconsin with a better corridor that makes the best use of the beautiful public lands we have in this area, and will provide a hike quality experience for the public by allowing us to build a hiking trail off existing roads", says Dick Swanson, President of the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter.

The draft corridor plan will be available for review and downloading approximately one week before the meeting at the National Park Service park planning website: (exit DNR). Comments on the plan can also be made on the website. Written comments can also be mailed to the following address: Trail Manager, North Country National Scenic Trail, 113 Riverwalk Plaza Lowell, MI 49331.

More information about the North Country National Scenic Trail (exit DNR) is also available on the National Parks Service website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brigit Brown, DNR state trails coordinator, 608-266-2183 or Jeff McCusker, NPS, 616-340-2004

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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