National Trails Day Celebration, Big Success in Kalkaska
By Renee Penny, Kalkaska Conservation District
Kalkaska North Country Trail (NCT) “Trail Town” partners and the community came together to celebrate National Trails Day in Kalkaska on Saturday, June 2nd. Over 100 people participated in this event in Kalkaska, and over 120,000 people participated nationwide to maintain and celebrate our trails. NCT Trail Town member means that we are part of the NCT Community that supports hikers with services and embraces the trail as a resource. The NCT Community includes 4,600 miles of trail through 7 states, North Dakota to Vermont, with 21 Trail Town designations in between.
It is a huge honor to be part of such a large network, and Kalkaska embraced it well this year with their celebration of National Trails Day. Partners for this year’s event include: The North Country Trail Association, Iron Belle Trail, Grand Traverse Hiking Club, Village of Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority, TransCanada, Michigan Department of National Resources, National Park Service, and Kalkaska Conservation District.
The celebration included guided hikes on the NCT Trails in Kalkaska County and a community picnic provided by TransCanada. The guided hikes departed on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning from the Civic Center Pavilions and dropped hikers off at Island Lake Road Trail crossing for a 6.5-mile hike and at Smith Lake Trail crossing for a 2.5-mile hike. Once the hikers returned, a brief ceremony was held to dedicate a new trail kiosk at its new home. The kiosk with trail information can be found on the NCT/KART trail near the Kaliseum and Courthouse Drive.
All NCT Trail Town partners have been supportive of increasing awareness of the North Country Trail in Kalkaska County. TransCanada has been supporting the Iron Belle Trail through North Country Trail and Grand Traverse Hiking Club work with grants over the past few years to build and maintain the trail. To become involved with the hiking club please visit www.northcountrytrail.org or email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also pledge to hike 50 or 100 miles on the North Country Trail and get bragging rights and a commemorative patch to mark your accomplishment. A special “Thank You” to all who made this event a success!!!