Sections of the national walking trail are open now.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Progress is creeping along on Columbiana County's portion of a national hiking trail that eventually will stretch nearly 4,200 miles from Vermont to North Dakota.
"It's coming along, but it's going to be a long process," said Brad Bosley, president of Columbiana County's chapter of the North Country Trail Association.
Bosley and his group of volunteers have been working since about the mid-90s to establish the county's leg of the North Country Trail, which will pass through the state and include Columbiana County in its 2-foot-wide path.
Already there: Placing the trail on footpaths in Beaver Creek State Park and other public land has been the easier part of the job, Bosley noted. Those sections are open to hikers.
Getting permission from private landowners to allow the trail to cross their land is proving challenging.
"A lot are hesitant," Bosley explained. "They worry about liability. We try to reassure them that this shouldn't be a problem."
About 10 miles of path in the county have been certified by the National Park Service as being up to North Country Trail standards.
Those sections mostly follow the previously established Dogwood and Vondergreen trails in Beaver Creek State Park north of East Liverpool.
North Country Trail certification is being sought for paths established in and near the Sheepskin Hollow State Nature Preserve in Middleton Township, a few miles northeast of Beaver Creek State Park.
Now the county's North Country Trail chapter must try to install a connecting path over private land between the nature preserve and the park.
A similar challenge faces trailblazers just west of Beaver Creek State Park.
There, they must get private owner permission so that the trail can be extended from the park to Beaver Creek State Forest off Lusk-Lock Road in Elkrun Township.
The state forest is where the 3.5-mile Lusk Lock Trail is located.
That path already has been certified as part of the North Country trail.
Once a through trail is established from Sheepskin Hollow to the Lusk Lock Trail, Columbiana County will have a nearly 25-mile continuous section of the North Country Trail, Bosley said.
But that doesn't mean the path-makers can rest.
They still face the task of breaking trail through the county's western section.