Frequently Asked Questions Page 2


By law, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the North Country National Scenic Trail. The only exception is for administrative use by the landowner or managing agency.


The North Country NST is a cooperative project of many public agencies, private organizations, and volunteers. The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for overall administration of the North Country NST and has primary responsibility for planning the trail and interpreting the landscape through which it passes. NPS provides color brochures describing the trail and the signs to mark its location. Actual development and management of the trail, however, is accomplished through many cooperating Federal, State, and local agencies; and private trail organizations and individuals.

The North Country Trail Association (NCTA) is the primary citizen's organization formed to support efforts to develop and promote the North Country NST. The NCTA is a private, nonprofit corporation composed of individual members and affiliated organizations. Its purpose is to help acquire, build, maintain, promote, and protect the Trail. It does this primarily by organizing and coordinating private sector involvement in such efforts as fund raising and the recruiting, organizing, and training of volunteers to build and maintain the Trail.


Trail building begins with obtaining the permission of the local landowner or land manager. In cooperation with the owner/manager a route is marked with a "flag line" which allows the trail crew to clear the path through brush and woods. When the trail is on private property it is usually sited to minimize the intrusion on the landowner, but always where the landowner wishes. Vegetation is trimmed enough to keep it from touching the hiker or their pack with extra allowance for seasonal growth (usually about four feet wide and eight feet high). Only brush and very small trees are cut. The trail winds between existing large trees which are left in place. On flat ground, the path remains natural and ungraded but when traversing steeper slopes, some "benching" may be done, in order to provide a flat walking surface. The trail is designed to allow water to flow across the tread rather than along it to avoid erosion. When it is necessary to cross wetlands, puncheon, board walks, and simple bridges are used to cross seeps and water courses. Where necessary, devices for crossing fences, called stiles, are installed to avoid any damage to the fence or the possibility of leaving a gate open.


The Trail is marked with vertical 2"x6" painted blue blazes, except on the Finger Lakes Trail where the blazes are white, placed on trees facing the hiker coming from either direction. Sometimes plastic blazes are used instead of paint. In treeless areas posts are provided with blazes at intervals to mark the route. Small blue and gold, 3 ½ inch North Country Trail emblems are placed where the trail crosses roads and other trails along with a regulatory strip indicating the uses permitted on the trail.


Last updated: April 10, 2015

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