Legacy Trails Program Awardee


North Country National Scenic Trail Connections

Principal work items of this grant include relocation of Kekekabic Trail and relocation of trail connection between Bingshick and Glee Lakes. A few existing segments of the Kekekabic Trail are under water because of beaver activity and lake level fluctuation. Hikers attempting to avoid the deep water currently make their own alternate routes that damage aquatic vegetation and fragment riparian habitats. New trail routes will be located on upland areas making them more resilient. They will also be reviewed for potential cultural resource impacts and constructed using sustainable trail construction techniques thus reducing the potential of future wetland impacts

Applicant: North Country Trail Association
Project Location: Gunflint Ranger District, Superior National Forest, Michigan
Amount Awarded: $13,142.00

More Project Details:

1. Relocation of Kekekabic Trail near Seahorse Lake. Existing Trail was constructed in a wetland area adjacent to the Lake. Due to fluctuating water levels and use of the Trail, multiple trail locations have been established in an effort to avoid getting feet (and up to knees) wet. This section of trail is located below a rock outcropping and the Lake preventing a minor reroute. A 0.65 mile section of the trail will ascend the bluff and reconnect to the trail as it climbs through an ephemeral stream valley. The Trail relocation will be flagged and mapped by USFS Personnel and Kekekabic Trail Chapter (KTC) Volunteers. Tread construction and clearing will be completed by a CCMI Crew (est. 2 weeks). Ongoing brushing, clearing and other maintenance will be by KTC Volunteers.

2. Relocation of trail connection between Bingshick and Glee Lakes. The existing trail is collocated with canoe portage that connects these two lakes. Canoe portages were historically located at stream connections of Lakes to provide the shortest distance. Unfortunately, the same locations are frequently flooded or wet. I this case, the canoe portage begins at Bingshick in a White Cedar bok and passe along a drainage up to Glee Lake. This 0.19 Mile Reroute of the Trail will relocate the hiking Trail on high ground adjacent to the Canoe Portage. Additionally, the two T-intersections of the trail and portage will be combined into one 4-legged (perpendicular) intersection to avoid confusion of hikers and canoeists. The Trail relocation will be flagged and mapped by USFS Personnel and Kekekabic Trail Chapter (KTC) Volunteers. Tread construction and clearing will be completed by a CCMI Crew (est. 2 weeks). Ongoing brushing, clearing and other maintenance will be by KTC Volunteers.

3. New Trail Connection between the Border Route (Magnetic Rock) and Kekekabic Trails. These trails are both part of the North Country Trail. The trailheads for the Kekekabic Trail and the Border Trail are located approximately a quarter mile apart on the Gunflint Trail. There is currently no off-road connection between these two trails so (Through)hikers must hike along a 55 MPH highway with little to no shoulder to access the next segment of trail. The Trail relocation will be flagged and mapped by USFS Personnel and Kekekabic Trail Chapter (KTC) Volunteers. Tread construction and clearing will be completed by a CCMI Crew (est. 2 weeks). Ongoing brushing, clearing and other maintenance will be by KTC Volunteers.

4. Warclub Lake - The trail near Warclub Lake crosses a Stream between Fay and Warclub Lake. Currently the crossing consists of parallel logs at the top of a falls into Warclub Lake. USFS Staff will assess the most ecological method for assuring a safe trail access across this stream. KTC Volunteers will work to improve the existing crossing based on the USFS Findings. The Trail crossing where it crosses the Portage between these two Lakes will be clarified by appropriate corridor definition (Clearing).

Timeline - The USFS has already begun the preliminary data collection necessary to start meet the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements. In Spring 2023, USFS Personnel and KTC Volunteers will conduct on-site visits to define the proposed trail corridor. Environmental and archeological specialists will survey the proposed impact acres to determine the presence or absence of significant resources.

In May 2023, Kekekabic Trail Crews will conduct maintenance on and improvement of the trail in areas that are not subject to NEPA review (eg. Campsite maintenance, Board Walk Repair, Brush Removal, etc.

By July 2023, it is anticipated that a final alignments will be flagged and located on the ground.

Once the NEPA study is concluded (Fall/ Winter 2023), volunteer crews of Kekekabic Trail Chapter and Border Route Trail Association will be recruited to conduct brushing along the proposed corridors. Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa (CCMI) will be requested construct the Trail and clear trees as necessary. It is anticipated that all work on the new Trail Connections will be concluded by Fall, 2024.

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256 views • posted 05/24/2023