Congress set to approve Welch legislation extending North Country National Scenic Trail into Vermont

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Congress set to approve Welch legislation extending North Country National Scenic Trail into Vermont

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 4:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont) along with Representative Pete Stauber (R-Minn) has reintroduced in the new Congress legislation to extend the North Country National Scenic Trail from Crowne Point, NY into Addison County, linking it to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail via Vermont’s Long Trail. Both the Senate and the House are expected to approve public lands legislation that incorporates Welch’s bill, clearing the way for President Trump to sign it into law.

“Vermont has unparalleled natural beauty that provides us with year-round opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors by trail,” said Welch. “And as hosts to both the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail, we have a rich tradition of trail hiking. Connecting the North Country Trail to the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail will provide Vermonters and tourists with even more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors through hiking, recreation, tourism, and economic development.”

Welch’s bill was unanimously approved by the House in the last Congress. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

This afternoon, the Senate is expected to approve a comprehensive public lands bill (S. 47) that includes the North Country Trails legislation. The House is expected to pass the public lands bill soon after, sending it to the President for signature.

The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), established in 1980, is one of eleven designated National Scenic Trails administered by the National Park Service. It currently links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas across seven states stretching from North Dakota to New York. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (ANST) extends from Georgia to Maine, traversing Vermont. Click here to view a National Park Service map showing the location of both national trails.

In addition to extending the NCNST into Vermont and connecting it to the ANST via the Long Trail, the bill also incorporates more than 400 miles of existing Minnesota trails into the system.

The North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act has the support of environmental and conservation groups as well as the communities through which the trail extension will pass.  

The text of the bill can be found HERE.

Source: Welch 2.12.2019