Most people don’t know America’s longest National Scenic Trail goes right through Lowell. But thanks to some artistic Lowell High School students, a lot more of them do now.
The North Country Trail, a 4,600-mile route from New York to North Dakota, winds through downtown past the trail’s headquarters at 229 E. Main St. There, on the east side of the red-brick building, 11 students this summer painted three fanciful scenes depicting the trail.
The colorful pictures have pulled in passers-by since then, said Tarin Hasper, administrative assistant for the North Country Trail Association.
“We get a lot of people peering at it,” Hasper says. “People will look at that, then wander around (the corner) and come in. We’ve seen more traffic because of it.”
The project was coordinated by the nonprofit LowellArts! organization with funding from the Lowell Education Foundation. Students helped design and create the mural under the direction of Grand Rapids mural artist Erwin Erkfitz. The aim was to help students learn more about working artists while building teamwork and community pride.
Nancy Breuker, a Murray Lake Elementary first-grade teacher, includes the trail headquarters in an annual student tour of the community. She says the mural draws attention to the trail and to hiking, which her family loves.
“My friends are surprised to hear it’s larger than the Appalachian Trail,” Breuker says. “The news is still getting out there.”