The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released a revised draft of the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail.
The proposed trail would start in North Dakota and end in New York state, comprised of about 4,600 miles that go through seven states. It has been completed on about 2,000 of those miles.
The trail has been in the works for decades and is a project of the National Park Service, which is working in collaboration with public and private entities. It would be the longest continuous trail in the United States, if completed. The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, is roughly 2,180 miles.
About 158 miles of the trail would be inside the Adirondack Park. The preferred route, in the plan, would enter the Park from the west near the hamlet of Forestport in Oneida County, continue through the central Adirondacks and finish up at Crown Point on the shore of Lake Champlain.
It would intersect nine sections of state-owned Forest Preserve that have unit management plans: Black River Wild Forest, West Canada Lake Wilderness, Moose River Plains Wild Forest, Little Moose Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, Hoffman Notch Wilderness and Hammond Pond Wild Forest.
The plan recommends that the national trail follow about 81 miles of existing foot trails and that 38 miles of new trails be constructed within the Park. About 39 miles of temporary connections along roads would be initially used to make connections along the route.
If the plan for the Adirondack portion of the trail is approved, it would be integrated into the unit management plans.
This revision to the draft plan proposes changes to a 2007 trail route based on public comment and information gathered by state planners who scouted alternatives.
The trail has been off the public radar in recent years. When asked about the plan, John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council environmental group, said he didn't know about the revisions and would have to take time to review the changes before commenting.
The DEC last released a plan in November 2007 for public comment and review. The department submitted its first draft to the National Park Service in 1982. That came about two years after federal legislation authorized the creation of the North Country National Scenic Trail as a component of the National Trails System.
To date, Congress has authorized the establishment of eight National Scenic Trails - long distance, non-motorized trails that follow major geographic features or pass through scenic areas.
The DEC has opened this new draft trail plan up for public comment. The deadline for comments to be received is July 7. Comments may be sent to Josh Clague, Natural Resources Planner, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4254, or to email@example.com.
A PDF version of the plan can be found online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/39658.html.