A new 1.3-mile section of the North Country National Scenic Trail will soon link Minnesota and Wisconsin hiking trails for the first time, but volunteers are needed this summer to help make it happen.

The section will run from Douglas County Highway W to the state line where the Superior Hiking Trail now ends in Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minnesota.

The new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources master plan for the Lake Superior region, approved Feb. 27, includes authorization for the North Country Trail to cross the St. Louis River Streambank Protection Area, 16 miles southwest of Superior.

Volunteers from the North Country Trail Association Brule-St Croix Chapter plan to build the new trail during three weeks of intensive work: April 22-26, June 3-7 and July 8-12. But they need more help.

For more information about opportunities to volunteer and help build America's longest hiking trail, email bmenke@northcountrytrail.org or call 608-935-0986.

The North Country trail will eventually stretch 4,600 miles from Vermont to North Dakota. About 3,100 miles are currently established off-road, with the rest on back roads until easements are secured on private land and until funds and volunteers are confirmed to build the remaining miles.

The trail in Minnesota also is still in the works but will head from east to west up the Superior Hiking Trail, cuts across the Border Route and Kekekabic trails in the Superior National Forest, then head west and south toward Grand Rapids and the Chippewa National Forest before heading west to North Dakota.