ANF chapter of NCTA tackles many projects

Photo submitted to Times Observer ANF Chapter members Kasia Dec, Tina Toole, Kim Gustafson and Donna Bailey install steel mesh on a walkway near the Lower Sheriff on the North Country Trail. The mesh provides traction on slippery surfaces.

The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), administered by the National Park Service, runs about 4,200 miles from Vermont to North Dakota. The Allegheny National Forest Chapter of the North Country Trail Association works on maintaining the 100 miles of the NCNST that passes through our forest.

To help, the ANF Chapter holds bimonthly trail work days. Volunteers enjoy fellowship and fun out on the trail, while making a significant impact in the quality of the North Country Trail. Trail work days involve routine maintenance such as mowing and weed whacking, along with projects like water diversion work, placing signs or building bridges. Work is also done by trail adopters throughout the year, as they make improvements on their adopted miles.

This was a busy year for the ANF chapter. Many projects were tackled.

1. Steel Mesh on Bridges – The project to cover over 212 bridges and walkways along the 100 miles of trail was completed in November. The mesh provides traction on slippery surfaces. The chapter laid down 2,759 feet of mesh, that’s over a half mile. This is quite an accomplishment and a great trail improvement.

2. Campsites – 33 campsites were set up and marked along the trail and will be maintained by the chapter. These complement our four shelters.

3. Road Signs – 73 signs were purchased to mark trail/road intersections. Information is provided to the hiker about the name of the road and the distance to the next major road crossing. Two thirds of the signs have been put up so far.

This project was funded jointly by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the ANF Chapter.

4. Construction – The Red Bridge Informational Kiosk was rebuilt and a new kiosk was constructed at Minister Rd. Over the spring, summer and fall, 21 bog bridges were built. A staircase was constructed at Red Bridge and one was rebuilt at Fox’s Dam.

5. Kiosks – Restained 3 informational kiosks and new posters were installed.

6. Paint Blazing – The 25 northernmost miles of trail were blazed this spring as part of the effort to reblaze the 100 miles over four years.

7. Alaskan Sawmill – A generous donation allowed the purchase of an Alaskan Sawmill and powerful chainsaw with a large blade and special ripping chain. This allows boards to be cut in remote areas to use for walkways and bridges. The first project with the sawmill was to build six walkways at the northern swampy end of Hammond Run.

8. Drainage – Water issues were addressed along the length of the trail. Draining the trail involves construction of ditches and water bars to direct water off the trail. Also, old drainage ditches were cleared of debris to make them more effective.

Besides maintaining the trail, the ANF Chapter offers monthly guided hikes along the length of the NCT in the ANF.

To find out more about this chapter, visit:, or or email us at