WISCONSIN – Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest recently recognized partner North Country Trail Association, Chequamegon Chapter with a Regional Volunteer and Service Award for Enduring Service. In May, Chapter Vice President Melvin Baughman accepted the award on behalf of the Chapter at the Birkie 00 Trailhead building.
The Chequamegon Chapter of the NCTA consists of a group of dedicated volunteers and members. They maintain a 61-mile section of the North Country National Scenic Trail that goes through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s Washburn and Great Divide Ranger Districts.
This portion of trail is divided into sections with Chapter members adopting sections to maintain. Work involves clearing, brushing, blazing, mowing, tread work, erosion work and other maintenance as needed. The volunteers are out on their section several times a year, through all types of weather. In addition to the maintenance work, Chapter members attend planning meetings and provide shuttle pickups for backpackers using the trail. This service makes it easier for visitors to plan their trip.
In 2018, the Chequamegon Chapter contributed 1,574 volunteer hours, and in 2017, they contributed 1,248 hours.
In 2018, the Chequamegon Chapter began organizing and hosting fun hikes for the public. The goal of which was to get new people out on the trail in order to experience their public lands. The hikes were a huge success, and the Chapter continued them throughout 2019.
Chequamegon Chapter volunteers maintain the trail to very high standards and the Forest recognizes that their contributions make a difference. As stated by Katie LeMoine, recreation technician – trails, “I am so thankful for all the work they have done. Without the Chequamegon Chapter, the trail would not look like it does. The forest doesn’t have the manpower to maintain the trail the way they do. What they do is important and much appreciated!”
The North Country National Scenic Trail is one of the more popular trails to hike on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The trail is used by folks that are backpacking or day-hiking.
The mission of the NCTA is “to develop, maintain, protect and promote the North Country National Scenic Trail as the premier hiking path across the northern tier of the United States through a trail-wide coalition of volunteers and partners.”