What: North Country Trail Monthly Hike
When: Sunday, November 19, 1 p.m.
Where: McDanel’s boat area on North Shore Drive in Moraine State Park
It’s a trail that charts roughly 4,600 miles, connecting the Red Plaid Nation of the U.S. across the heartlands from New York to North Dakota. And the efforts of maintaining the various sections along the North Country Trail are left to the tireless volunteers across these states, including members of the Wampum Chapter, who build and maintain the trail in the counties of Lawrence and Beaver.
“Our monthly hikes are an opportunity for the public to get on the trail, become aware of the trail and enjoy the outdoors and the exercise,” says Dennis Garrett, president of the Wampum Chapter. “Many people are not aware of the North Country Trail and its availability to everybody”
Garrett explains that because the Wampum Chapter is a volunteer group, they are somewhat limited in how they can bring about awareness to the trail. But because of the trail’s size and beauty, more people are taking notice. These monthly hikes on the third Sunday of each month are a wonderful opportunity for families and residents to get together and enjoy the North Country Trail.
“Hiking is becoming more popular, and people are excited to know that there’s a well-maintained trail right here in their backyards, so it’s not uncommon for us to have 30, 40 or 50 people on these successful hikes,” he says.
Aside from usual maintenance and clearing of the trail, the Wampum Chapter also recently completed the refurbishment of Waterfall Bridge near Watt’s Mill, Garrett says. The bridge was originally installed in 2009 and needed to be replaced. Garrett says the chapter was able to complete this in about three hours thanks to the efforts of volunteers. It’s just one of the many sites that hikers can look forward to.
“There are some stunning areas on the North Country trail from New York state to North Dakota, and there are a few nice areas in western Pennsylvania,” he says.
Garrett had hopes that nearly 100 hikers would be out on the trail for the chapter’s Health Hike, which took place between 8-10 a.m. on October 1. The Wampum Chapter joined forces with Knights of Columbus Council 604, and the money raised from the hike supported local organizations in western Pennsylvania that assist children with special needs, including McGuire Memorial and St. Anthony School Programs.
In conjunction with the hike, the Wampum Chapter also completed a spur trail, which is a 200-yard trail that connects to the main route. It’s also an ADA approved, handicapped accessible trail.
Hikers can gather at St. Monica Parish, 3357 Constitution Blvd., in Darlington for a shuttle. They can then choose to hike four, 6.5 or 10 miles. Afterward, hikers will be shuttled back to St. Monica’s for food and refreshments. All hikers must have a minimum pledge of $50 to participate.