Joint Partnership Builds New Trail and Wildlife Platform
By Peter Nordgren
The North Country National Scenic Trail will move closer to connecting with the Superior Hiking Trail on Saturday, October 17th, as a new 4 mile section of trail near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border is opened at a dedication event.
The new hiking trail segment, which crosses UW-Superior’s MacQuarrie Wetlands in western Douglas County, has been developed in partnership between the North Country Trail Association, the National Park Service, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. It features a new wildlife viewing platform built by volunteers and funded by a donation from a UW-Superior alumnus and her family.
The public is invited to the dedication activities, which include a 10 AM hike over the new trail, a noon lunch, and the 1 PM dedication program. All events are at the MacQuarrie Wetlands on Hilpiper Road, off Douglas County Highway C, 17 miles southwest of Superior.
At the dedication, speakers will include Mark Weaver, National Park Service Superintendent of the North Country National Scenic Trail; Chancellor Renee Wachter of UW-Superior; and Rita Oswald, a UW-Superior graduate whose family donated funds for the wildlife platform in memory of her husband, Atley Oswald.
The new trail segment provides scenic overlooks of the Nemadji River Valley and the basin of Glacial Lake Duluth. It also crosses a section of Douglas County Forest and Wisconsin DNR lands. At MacQuarrie Wetlands, an area of ponds and trails managed by the University for research and outdoor recreation, the new Oswald Viewing Platform permits both visitors and researchers to observe waterfowl and other aquatic life.
Both the trail and the viewing platform were built by volunteers of the North Country Trail Association’s Brule-St. Croix Roving Trail Crew. This group of skilled trail developers creates new sections of trail in northern Wisconsin, working toward completion of America’s longest hiking trail, crossing the northern tier of states for 4,600 miles between Vermont and North Dakota.
The Crew includes several UW-Superior alumni, while a group of UW-Superior students also worked on installing trail signs and blazes as part of the project.
Bill Menke, leader of the Roving Trail Crew, said, “We were pleased to work with UW-Superior on this project. Having a National Scenic Trail pass through this university research and recreation area is a unique feature. Long distance hikers will get to explore this special place, while visitors to MacQuarrie can follow the trail to see more of the surrounding valley.”
With recent trail construction progress by Superior Hiking Trail volunteers on the Minnesota side of the border, both groups are moving closer to connecting the two states’ trail systems, further expanding hiking and backpacking opportunities in the region.
More information about the dedication event and the North Country National Scenic Trail is available at www.meetup.com/sscbhikers, www.nps.gov/noco, and www.northcountrytrail.org. A driving map from the Superior area to the MacQuarrie Wetlands can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/p8ht8tl. The new trail segment can be viewed on the North Country Trail Association’s interactive map at http://arcg.is/1ho4op2.