Tracker Pixel for Entry

​4,600 miles long and four feet wide

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Outdoors | September 7th, 2016

By Ben Haugmo

benhaugmo@yahoo.com

Winding through 4,600 miles of forest and field, alongside river and railway, and over hilltops as well as fences is the North Country National Scenic Trail. Next week, the National Country Trail Association will be celebrating their annual meeting, a chance for volunteers and enthusiasts to come together in shared appreciation of this country-spanning marvel.

North Country Trail veterans and newcomers alike will experience hikes which include river trails between Gooseberry Park and downtown Fargo to treks across the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.

Non-hiking events include an illustrated history of the Red River Valley with Steve Stark, and a presentation by Ruth and Dan Dorrough who, little by little and over the course of 17 years, have walked almost the entirety of the North Country Trail. They will be completing their adventure during the weekend hikes.

The trail was made possible through North Country Trail Association partnership with the National Park Service. Originally conceived in the mid-1960’s, the trail is a project years in the making, and still growing. Currently, over 2,600 miles of the trail’s 4,600 mile span is open to public use, but through the help of volunteers, more and more sections are becoming available.

Tom and Mary Moberg have hiked and helped develop more than their fair share of the trail. Tom Moberg is rounding off a three-year seat as president on the NCTA board of directors, and is vice president of the local Dakota Prairie chapter of NCTA. Mary Moberg is a member at-large of the Dakota Prairie Chapter leadership team. Together, they’ve traversed sections of the North Country Trail in all seven of the states it runs through, as well as helping to build and maintain the trail in various places over the years.

“We like to think of it as a park that’s 4,600 miles long and four feet wide,” said Tom Moberg.

Developing the trail for public use takes a lot of work and a lot of planning. The first step for the North Country Trail was to determine just where it could run. A rough plan was initially mapped out before real development could begin.

“There is an underlying master plan of where the trail should go,” said Moberg. “In North Dakota, when they first laid the trail out, people were drawing on napkins saying ‘Where can we go with this trail?’ Congress authorized areas to be a national scenic trail based on the guesses that people made.”

In the case of North Dakota, there comes an extra challenge in that only 4% of the land is publicly owned. The NCTA has to find private landowners willing to let the trail run through their property.

From there, the proposed stretch of trail is hiked in order to determine where the interesting scenic locations are. Areas of historical and cultural significance are noted for future hikers to enjoy as they make their journeys across the trail.

After the trail is hiked and choice spots selected, the area is developed. The prospective trail is mowed and smoothed out, and public amenities like rest stops and picnic areas are built. Where the trail runs into a fence, stiles are constructed to help hikers over, rather than installing gates that could accidentally be left open. “We have many styles of stile,” said Moberg.

While it is not unprecedented for individuals to hike the entire North Country Trail in one season, it is a rare occurrence. Since ideal hiking times are during spring, summer, and fall, only five or six people have managed to hike the trail in one sitting. “I may have hiked 500 miles,” said Moberg. “I don’t expect to hike this whole thing in my lifetime unless I live another 50 years!”

Though it’s difficult to choose just one favorite, the Mobergs have a couple stretches of the North Country Trail that they’re fond of. “I love the trail around Itasca State Park,” said Mary Moberg. “It’s just beautiful there and it goes right through the park on both sides.”

Other favorite sections of the North Country Trail include the Superior Hiking Trail, the area around Lake Champlain, and the Sheyenne National Grassland.

Registration for the North Country Trail annual meeting is currently closed, but events along the trail are hosted often. Those interested in exploring new locales can sign up for upcoming trips at http://www.meetup.com/red-river-valley-outdoors

Recently in:

FARGO – Expressing disgust over an interview with a local “pro-white activist” on Valley News Live “Point of View,” concerned citizens have started a campaign to pull advertising from the show.Concerned citizens are…

Google has a cloud plan that is actually free! It should be: Google has enough money, they don’t need mine or yours.Last week we discussed the Dropbox cloud offering. Remember that cloud storage is a great way to back up your…

Thursday, August 17, 5:30pmRheault Farm, 2902 25th Ave S, FargoPoliticians and party officials speak. State Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D-Fargo) provides music and entertainment. Bratwurst, burgers, salads and desserts provided. Free…

Our opinion: We all breathe the same air, and we all drank the same beer.Last weekend I helped a pal plan a small festival in an even smaller town. In fact, you may find me bartending there once in a blue moon, flexing my…

Gadfly

Crazy like a fox

by John Strand

Can we learn anything after we know it all?There’s a 100-page book written by a high school dropout that should be read by all high schoolers, college education students, teachers, and politicians. Michael J.Fox of movie and TV…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On Wednesday July 19, Luna had their first and very solid convergence with Junkyard Brewing. The beer dinner was comprised of five killer Luna courses with five stellar Junkyard beers. The results were extraordinary. Initially I…

Formed in 1988, The Supersuckers have gained the moniker of being “the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world.” In 2015 lead singer/bassist Eddie Spaghetti was diagnosed with stage 3 oropharynx cancer. Thankfully he…

Reteaming with his “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” leads Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, filmmaker David Lowery has a very compelling tale to tell in “A Ghost Story.” Somber yet funny, and comfortable with exclamations of…

Interactive Hive through Plains Art Museum goes to marketPhoto by Jerry ShervenThis summer, interns between the ages of 11 and 18 participated in Buzz Lab, a program through the Plains Art Museum that gives students the opportunity…

‘Heathers’ hits the Empire stage in Grand ForksBefore the pink-clad Plastics or Cher’s group of popular beauties in “Clueless,” the shoulder pad-wearing, croquet mallet-wielding Heathers ruled the halls of Westerberg High…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

If you’ve never had Mankato’s Organ Grinder Amber Ale, you should probably put it near the top of your “must try” lists.If you are a fan of Mankato Brewery you may have been a bit confused the last time you went looking for…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

A few months ago I wrote about the long, strange saga of Jason Halek, the fellow who dumped 800,000 gallons of poisonous oilfield brine down an abandoned oil well south of Dickinson. Back in April of this year, he pleaded guilty to…