Sunday, August 4, 2019

NCT Maps Updates Change Mile Mark Numbers

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segment of online NCT interactive maps

The North Country Trail Association's online, interactive maps to the trail have become an "overnight" hit. More and more, I hear people communicating with others about meeting locations, or defining segments by referring to the mile marker numbers.

This is a good thing, but can lead to misunderstandings, if one does not realize that these numbers can change. This is the beauty of the interactive maps, given that there is still a lot of work to do to get all of the trail off road. But it can also be problematic.

For example, the NCTA just published this information. "We're releasing a new round of updates for the North Country Trail in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Included in this round of updates - for the first time - are new maps that cover the NCT in Pennsylvania's Butler, Clarion and Venango Counties. These updates COMPLETE the section maps for the NCT in Pennsylvania, totaling just over 280 miles. The updates in Wisconsin and Michigan represent both trail relocations and improvements in trail data. In all cases, these updates have caused the half-mile waypoints to shift statewide in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan."

Each state is divided into half-mile segments, beginning at the western end of the trail in the state. Michigan's mile 0.0 is at the western end of the Upper Peninsula on Lake Road, just east of Wisconsin's mile 210.5. Whenever, the route changes, all the numbers in that state which are higher than the location of the change will automatically shift to reflect the change.

Personally, I've fallen victim to updates twice in the past 3 months. One person gave directions using the mile numbers, but by the time I needed to find those locations, the numbers had shifted a bit. Our most recent chapter hike began at Highbanks Rollway. Publicity was sent out listing this as mile 754, but by the week of the hike it had shifted to mile 755. Just be aware that these changes can and will occur.

Just to be on the safe side, be sure that if a critical meeting is involved, you describe the location in "traditional" terms in addition to giving a mile number.

Just remember, number shifts are a good thing, because they almost always mean more miles off road, or a the selection of a better route.

based on information from the North Country Trail Association

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