BY COUNCILOR REINERT:
The city council finds as follows:
(a) The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), authorized by congress in 1980, is one of only eight national scenic trails in the United States; and
(b) The NCNST extends from Crown Point in New York to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota covering a distance of over 4,600 miles, including over 850 miles in the state of Minnesota; and
(c) A segment of the original planned route of the NCNST in Minnesota ran from Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton County generally heading northwest towards Savannah Portage State Park in Aitkin County and onto the Chippewa National Forest near Remer in Cass County; and
(d) No portion of this segment of the original planned route has been built in the last 25 years due to the extensive wetlands found in the area and a lack of volunteer support due to the anticipated difficulty in building trail there; and
(e) Volunteers have developed a viable alternative, the “Arrowhead re-route,” in the last 25 years working with government agencies toward the near completion of the Superior Hiking Trail, completion of the Border Route Trail and the restoration of the Kekekabic Trail; and
(f) These trails pass through areas, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the North Shore, which encompass world-class scenic values; and
(g) There is consensus within the Minnesota hiking community that the Arrowhead re-route is a more preferable route that has ample volunteer support; and
(h) The majority of the Arrowhead re-route, over 375 miles, would utilize existing hiking trails including the Superior, Border Route and Kekekabic, which are currently maintained by volunteers; and
(i) The roughly 140 miles of new trail that would have to be built would be located on public lands, on private lands with the voluntary permission of the owner, or on lands acquired from willing sellers or donors; and
(j) All newly constructed trail would be built and maintained by volunteers of the North Country Trail Association and its partners; and
(k) The Arrowhead re-route was studied, evaluated, and identified as the preferred alternative by the national park service in its Northeastern Minnesota route assessment completed in 2004; and
(l) The National Trails System Act requires congressional action to approve a significant change in the route of a national scenic trail; and
(m) The North Country Trail Association has proposed legislation that would amend the National Trails System Act to authorize this route change; and
(n) This re-route legislation has broad support within the state of Minnesota including members and representatives of the North Country Trail Association, Superior Hiking Trail Association, Kekekabic Trail Club, Minnesota Rovers Outing Club, Border Route Trail Association, park and trails council of Minnesota, Minnesota department of natural resources, Superior National Forest, Chippewa National Forest and business owners along the Minnesota’s North Shore; and
(o) Designation of the Arrowhead re-route would not adversely affect the region’s timber supply; any land manager’s right to harvest timber or otherwise manage their property; or any existing opportunities for motorized recreation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the city of Duluth endorses congressional designation of the Arrowhead re-route as the official route of the North Country National Scenic Trail in Northeastern Minnesota.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the city clerk shall send a copy of this resolution to each member of congress from Minnesota and to the commissioner of the Minnesota department of natural resources.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution shows support for an adjustment in location which will facilitate improvement and completion of an important recreational trail. Congressman Oberstar has requested approval from all jurisdictions along the re-route. The Duluth Area Trails Alliance and the parks and recreation commission have both unanimously passed identical resolutions.