Minnesota hikers will be happy to hear that two of our long trails recently scored Legacy Amendment grants. The Department of Natural Resources oversees the funding portion known as the Parks and Trails Legacy Grants and recently made more than 20 grants from 2011 requests. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to love on the list, but support for the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and the North Country National Scenic Trail should please just about every hiker in the state.
Anyone who has planted a boot on the North Shore has likely tread on the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail is largely complete, but the final vision includes a 50-mile section connecting Jay Cooke State Park to the trail near Two Harbors. The Duluth section is the last that remains to be built and the grant will be used for this final segment. If all goes well, the work wil be done at year's end and the nearly 300-mile trail will be complete.
While the Superior Hiking Trail is nearing completion, the North Country National Scenic Trail (of which the SHT is a part) is following a much longer trajectory. Mile by mile, this trail is being built mainly by volunteers scattered along the trail's seven-state route. Less than half of its 4600 miles is finished (the process is 30 years and counting), but it will ultimately be the longest scenic hiking trail in the country! The Legacy Grant will be used to finish a section through the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and add another piece to this visionary trail.