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 is closed. 

The new owner is willing to sell a 3-acre portion of his property to the National Park Service so the trail section can be open again. He is unwilling to wait the 6-12 months it will take NPS to buy the property, so the Park Trust was invited to assist. The Park Trust will negotiate the purchase with the owner, do the environmental clearance, and survey and hold the property until NPS can buy it.

The Trail spans eight states: MI, MN, NY, ND, OH, PA, VT, and WI. At almost 4,600 miles, it is the longest trail in the U.S. 

Acquisition of the property would eliminate a detour along a busy country highway. The trail would continue 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 would link with another section of the trail that crosses the 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 would permanently protect the continuity of the trail in that area
  • 3 acres of undeveloped woodland would be preserved
Value to the Park and Public:
  • The public will have permanent access to this section of the trail
  • Greater safety for hikers if the trail can be moved off the highway
  • Visitors would 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