I was in northern Minnesota recently and came across trailhead signs for the North Country Trail. I was familiar with this trail as my husband is a member/supporter, but it got me thinking about the fact that the North Country Trail, like the Ice Age Trail, is a designated National Scenic Trail…..But what does that mean?
National Scenic Trails are officially established under the authority of the National Trails System Act, which is an Act of Congress. A National Scenic Trail must be 100 miles or longer and be continuous, and must consist of primarily non-motorized routes that provide outstanding recreational opportunities. According to the National Park Service website, routes that have gained National Scenic Trail status traverse beautiful terrain and connect communities, significant landmarks, and public lands. The Ice Age Trail easily meets all these requirements and was designated as a National Scenic Trail on October 3, 1980.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States. Others include the Appalachian Trail, Arizona Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Florida Trail, Natchez Trace Trail, New England Trail, North Country Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail and Potomac Heritage Trail. It’s quite a reflection on the quality of the Ice Age Trail that it is included among this group of well-known trails.
The Ice Age Trail will be celebrating forty years of being a National Scenic Trail with a special event during the month of October. The Mammoth Hike 40 Challenge will be an opportunity for anyone interested in getting out on the trail to accumulate 40 miles of walking or running on the Ice Age Trail, taking as much of the month to accomplish those miles as needed. In addition to the rewards of being on the Trail, participants who complete 40 miles will receive special recognition. Check the Lodi Valley Chapter-Ice Age Trail Alliance website in the coming months for details on how you can be part of this celebration.
We’re fortunate to have a National Scenic Trail right here in our state and, even better, to have Lodi recognized as a Trail Community. (More about that in a future post.) Just one more reason to get outside and enjoy our amazing natural environment…..Along the Ice Age Trail.