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September 2010                                                                                 
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October is a great time to explore North Carolina on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Whether you like to hike, paddle, bike or go on a scavenger hunt, North Carolina's 3rd annual Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month offers those opportunities and more.
Wilderness areas, waterfalls and wonderful fall color are all on the agenda. Peruse the list of events by location and by date and find one or more that works for you. Some of the highlights this year include:

Trail Dedication & Covered Dish Luncheon -- Be among the first to explore 25 new miles of the MST on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone -- Saturday, October 2.

Clues on the Neuse - This scavenger hunt will be a fun and educational way for families to explore a brand new section of the MST in Smithfield -- Sunday, October 10.

Famed Alpinist Conrad Anker - Hear Anker's gripping tale, illustrated with photos and videos, of his ascent up Mount Meru in the Himalayas, the adventure of his lifetime. Sponsored by Great Outdoor Provision Co. and The North Face, with proceeds to benefit FMST -- Tuesday, October 19.

Paddle the Neuse River - Join the Lower Neuse Riverkeeper on a 10+ mile leisurely paddle in the Kinston area where the trail is planned for the future -- Friday, October 1.
125-Mile Bike Ride - Calling all experienced bikers: you can complete half the coastal plain section of the MST in one day on this out-and-back ride from Raleigh to Black Creek - Saturday, October 23.

Hike the MST to Bald Knob - This strenuous 8-mile hike is a great way to explore one of the most beautiful and remote sections of the MST with a trail leader who knows the area well - Saturday, October 9.

Trail Workday & Cookout at Falls Lake - Help build the final sections of the MST at Falls Lake! Work starts at 9:00 AM. The cookout to reward the volunteers starts at 5:00 PM -- Saturday, October 23
Great Outdoor Provision Co.MST Month is made possible through the support of many friends and corporate sponsors.  You can help the trail by buying a raffle ticket this October with all proceeds going to our efforts to extend and maintain the trail across North Carolina.

Buy your ticket at any Great Outdoor Provision Co. store, located in seven cities across North Carolina. Prizes include a chance to win more than $3000 in gift certificate from Great Outdoor Provision Co, Patagonia, VasqueMerrell, Columbia, and Woolrich.
Brantley and Hassenfelt present print to Dixon. Photo by" B" Townes
Hassenfelt & Brantley present woodcut to Dixon
Steve Hassenfelt and Cooper Brantley of Greensboro became the 17th and 18th people to complete the entire MST when they "summitted" Jockey's Ridge during a summer heat wave on June 29, 2010.
They started their journey at Clingmans Dome in April and braved rain, snow, and heat; clambered over trees felled in the winter storms; suffered aching muscles and blisters. In return, they saw the beauty of North Carolina up close and personal; met many interesting and friendly people; and had an extraordinary adventure.
Steve's daughter Fletcher made a beautiful woodcut of the North Carolina mountains and sea in spring colors to commemorate the journey. Steve gave one of the prints to Kate Dixon, FMST's Executive Director, to display at the office.
Several hikers have told us they plan to hike the trail this fall. We hope to add their names to the growing list of people who have completed the trail.
Despite the extremely tight budget, the state legislature showed its commitment to trails and conservation last session by retaining funding for North Carolina's:
  • Adopt-A-Trail program which makes small grants for trails and 
  • four conservation trust funds which help protect land and easements for trails, parks, clean water, farmland protection and wildlife. Over the last two years, these funds have helped acquire key tracts for the trail in Guilford, Alamance and Johnston counties.
Becka Walling's hiking boots
Hiking boots at Falls Lake
Unfortunately, on the last day of the session the bill to allow a speciality license plate for the MST failed on a procedural vote. These plates are a fun way for people to show their support of the MST. They've also made a big difference for other parks and trails at no cost to state government, and one could make a big difference for the MST.
Please e-mail your House Member and Senator to thank them for supporting the Adopt-A-Trail program and conservation trust funds and also ask them to pass a bill next year for an MST license plate.
Legislators want to know what their constituents care about, and they will appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks to REI for its generous grant of $10,000 to supply tools and materials for our trail volunteers throughout North Carolina. This grant comes at a particularly helpful time when we are between state grants for that purpose while we build a bridge over little Lick Creek on the Falls Lake section of the MST.
REI corporate logoAs the temperature drops, our trail crews are picking up their work all along the trail. They could use your help to build new trail and keep the existing 400 miles in good shape for fall hikers. Check our trail workday schedule to find a date that works for you. 

Our partners in Guilford and Alamance counties continue to make progress on new trail near Greensboro and Burlington.
In Guilford, local governments have banded together with assistance from FMST and other community groups to develop a plan for a greenway along the route of the abandoned Atlantic & Yadkin Railroad. The old rail line ran from the Forsyth County line through Stokesdale and Summerfield and hooks into the existing MST on Greensboro's watershed lakes.
Shallow Ford Natural Area. Photo by Brian Baker.
Shallow Ford on the Haw River - photo by Brian Baker
In this area, the current MST route is entirely on back roads, and the proposed trail would provide an off road route through Guilford County. Progress on developing the A&Y greenway plan was covered in a recent article in the Greensboro News & Record.
Alamance also continues to make progress acquring land for the MST along the Haw River. This month, they closed on four small but critical properties north of Burlington that hikers will cross one day.
In addition, the Haw River Partnership is holding the grand opening of its new natural area park at Shallow Ford where Gerringer Mill Road crosses the river near Burlington on September 18. The new park boasts five miles of trail including one mile along the river that will become part of the MST.
It's on the MST, of course! To find out what a promontory stump is and where to find it, read Walt Weber's wonderful article about building the MST near the Pisgah Inn (MST Section 6) in the 1980s and 1990s. You'd better hurry if you want to find the stump, because Walt reports that it's weathering fast.
The stump is on one of the sections of trail built and maintained by our partner, Carolina Mountain Club. Walt Weber is a great historian of the trail and the author of the new guidebook: MST Trail Profiles and Maps: From the Great Smokies to Mount Mitchell and Beyond.
Last year, scouts from the Occoneechee Council helped build new MST at Falls Lake near Durham. The story of their adventures was captured in a video and article in Boy's Life, the national scouting magazine. We appreciate the focus on the MST and all the hard work that scouts have put into building and maintaining it.
Financial donations make this trail possible. You can join online or print and mail your membership form.
Your donation will leave a legacy for future generations. 
Thanks for your support of the trail!
Contact Info
Kate Dixon
Executive Director
Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail