North Country National Scenic Trail, MI

The National Park Service contacted the National Park Trust seeking our help to acquire a 3-acre parcel of land. The land over which the trail ran sold on the open market in early 2021. The previous landowners allowed the trail to cross their property under a “handshake” agreement. Without a formal easement, the new landowner was under no obligation to allow the trail across his land. He would not allow the NPS to use his land for the trail, so the segment closed. 

The new owner was willing to sell a 3-acre portion of his property to the National Park Service to reopen the trail section. He was unable to wait the 6-12 months it takes NPS to buy the property, so the Park Trust was invited to assist. The Park Trust negotiated the purchase with the owner, did the environmental clearance, surveyed the property, and is holding it until NPS can buy it.

The Trail spans eight states: MI, MN, NY, ND, OH, PA, VT, and WI. Stretching 4,800 miles, it is the longest national scenic trail in the U.S. 

Acquisition of the property eliminates a detour along a busy country highway. The trail continues through a wooded area, with a 100-yard walk on a less busy road at the south end of the property to reach the next trail segment. On the north end of the property, the trail links with another section of the trail that crosses State of Michigan land. Hikers would again hike the Michigan woods and fields, leaving the busy pavement behind.

Project Details:

Project Years: 2021-2023 

Parcel Size: 3 acres 

Project Cost: $80,000

Park Trust Role: Buy and Hold

Long Term Significance of the Acquisition:
  • The acquisition permanently protects the continuity of the trail in that area
  • 3 acres of undeveloped woodland are preserved
Value to the Park and Public:
  • The public will have permanent access to this section of the trail
  • There is greater safety for hikers with the trail moved off the highway
  • Visitors trade hiking on the road for a walk through undeveloped woods and fields

Map of site location in relation to Kalamazoo, MI
View from the North Country Trail