Volunteers connect boardwalk on North Country Trail

Volunteers connect boardwalk on North Country Trail (upnorthlive.com photo)

EMMET COUNTY, MI (WPBN/WGTU) -- On a beautiful day in Emmet County, three retirees are hard at work.

“If you were a couch potato you wouldn’t last long, you gotta keep moving,” said 73-year-old Jim Stamm who is the President of the Harbor Springs chapter of the North Country Trail. Even though he's retired, Stamm says being out in the woods working is exactly where he wants to be.

“Who wouldn’t want to be anyplace but here," he asked. "It’s just great, it’s good exercise. Get outside, get some fresh air.”

The Harbor Springs Chapter of the NCT manages 46 of the 4,600 miles of trail, and for the past five years they’ve been adding boardwalk to a section of the trail that floods quite often.

“Hopefully a couple more days, we catch the other end," Stamm said. "We should have this section, which is the wettest section we have, pretty much board walked.”

“We were considering downtown Petoskey, but being out in the woods is much better," chuckled retiree Gary Rigby, who recently relocated to northern Michigan from the metro-Detroit area with his wife. When he found out the home he was building was by the NCT trail, he knew he had to get involved.

“It wasn’t too far along that process that we learned the North Country Trail was within walking distance of our house," Rigby said. "And everyday since, we’ve been out here.”

“I kinda act like a rover," said at large NCT member John Tester. "I go from place to place and help out with projects.”

Texter is from St. Ignace, but he traveled to Harbor Springs simply to get outside, and improve the trail he loves.

“It’s a great resource," Tester said of the trail. "It’s a wonderful place to get in touch with nature.”

With 875 of the 4,600 miles crossing through the state of Michigan, Stamm says Michiganders have to check it out.

“It’s just a great place to be," said Stamm "Just get outside and get some exercise.”

To find info and a map of the trail, you can check out their national website HERE. You can also find a link to the Harbor Springs chapter HERE.