NDSU’s School of Natural Resource Sciences, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands chapter of the North Country Trail Association and Boy Scout Troop 214 opened the Ekre/Troop 214 hiking trail near Kindred, N.D., Oct. 21.
The Ekre/Troop 214 trail is on the Albert Ekre Grassland Preserve southwest of Kindred. The preserve is land Albert Ekre donated to the NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources as a demonstration ranch to support research and education.
The trail is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches approximately 4,600 miles from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota. It is the longest of the 11 national scenic trails authorized by Congress.
“The new hiking trail crosses virgin grasslands and a spring creek, and goes through some of the oldest woods on the eastern end of the Sheyenne River Valley,” says Jack Norland, an assistant professor of natural resources at NDSU and coordinator for the Ekre/Troop 214 trail project.
The trail is a one-mile-long loop that is rated as easy to hike, provides vistas of the valley and gives hikers a glimpse of North Dakota history.
Part of the trail follows the path of the Fort Abercrombie military road established in the 1860s that served Fort Totten and Fort Ransom. Part of the new trail crosses the bottom of the valley where the road split, with one stretch going west to Fort Ransom and the other crossing the Sheyenne River and going north to Fort Totten. One of the log cabins on the preserve dates back to the military road era.
Additional parts of the North Country Trail are planned to connect to the new trail. The start of the trail will become a trailhead for part of the North Country Trail.
The trailhead for the Ekre/Troop 214 trail is just south of where North Dakota Highway 18 crosses the Sheyenne River. Look for North Country Trail signs. By a global positioning system unit, go to 46 degrees 33.251’N 97 degrees 8.255’W.
Seven Scouts from Troop 214 have completed their Eagle Scout projects on the trail with help from troop members, the NDSU Natural Resources Management Club and others.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.