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November 2010                                                                                 
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Hikers out to complete the Mountains-to-Sea Trail have 25 new miles of trail to travel thanks to the steady, hard work of volunteers in the Watauga and South Ashe task forces. It is a beautiful stretch of trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, West Jefferson and Wilkesboro. Hikers will experience breathtaking views, deep woods and pastures, and occasional historic structures along the parkway. Check out the FMST website for maps and other information about the Watauga and South Ashe sections of the MST.


Trail Dedication - Ribbon Cutting
The next generation helps cut the ribbon. Photo by Shelton Wilder.

On October 2, Deputy Director Carol Tingley of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation officially dedicated the new trail as part of the MST.  Two hundred people attended the ceremony to celebrate the official opening and hear Tingley and Deputy Superintendent Monika Mayr of the Blue Ridge Parkway, FMST Board Secretary Liz King, South Ashe Task Force Leader Jim Hallsey and Watauga Task Force Leader John Lanman recognize the work of the volunteers.


For more photos of the dedication and the trail check out the MST-Watauga blog by Shelton Wilder, who helps build the trail in Watauga County, and the Hiker to Hiker blog by Danny Bernstein, who is section-hiking the entire MST. 


Marker Shows the Way to the New Trail
Marker shows the way to the new trail. Photo by Shelton Wilder. 

This trail dedication brings the MST very close to completion in the mountains. FMST volunteers have another six miles to build in Watauga County between Blowing Rock and the Bamboo Gap overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Check out the Watauga trail workday schedule, if you'd like to join the work crew.) 


We're also working with State Parks, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP) to establish the official route that the MST will follow as it leaves the GSMNP and to increase campsites along the entire mountain route. 

Hundreds Gather on the MST for "Clues on the Neuse"


A scavenger hunt on the MST in downtown Smithfield drew more than 500 people to the newly-built trail on the banks of the Neuse River. The event was one of the festivities in October to celebrate Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month.


Painting a mural on bridge abutment
Painting a mural on the bridge abutment. Photo by Chris Johnson.

Contestants in "Clues on the Neuse" competed to answer 25 questions that helped them learn about the MST in North Carolina and in Smithfield itself.  Answering the questions correctly required that they compute trail miles, learn about camping gear, identify trees and snakes, learn about historical sites on the river, and even help paint a mural of trees on the abutment under the US 70 bridge. 


Everyone who answered all questions correctly was eligible for great prizes including a weekend getaway to the Days Inn at Nags Head (near the MST start/end at Jockey's Ridge State Park), Carolina Hurricanes tickets and Great Outdoor Provision Co. gift cards.  


Contestants puzzle out the clues
Contestants puzzle out the clues. Photo by Chris Johnson. 

Eight local groups including the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, Clemmons Educational State Forest, Johnston County's Arts Council and Heritage Center, and the Parks & Recreation Departments of Clayton and Smithfield set up "campsites" along the river to help contestants answer the questions. 


Special thanks are due to Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation and the Johnston County Visitors Bureau who helped stage and publicize the event which also featured live entertainment from Ragged Company, the Neuse River Ramblers and Cindy Rhodes.


Thanks also to the Smithfield Herald for their news article about the event.

MST Month Banner

On October 31, the 3rd-annual Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month came to a close.

It was a great October - more than 1500 people enjoyed 23 events throughout North Carolina - a trail dedication, a scavenger hunt plus dayhikes, paddles, trail workdays, and even a raffle. Wilderness areas, waterfalls and wonderful fall weather were all on the agenda this year.

We have many people to thank:

  • Everyone who organized the 23 events.
  • The generous corporate supporters who donated more than $15,000 for the trail -- Great Outdoor Provision Co, Patagonia, The North Face, Commercial Glazing Associates, Wyrick Robbins, and many more.
  • Great Outdoor Provision Co.Governor Beverly Perdue for proclaiming October as Mountains-to-Sea Trail month.
  • All the organizations, newspapers, magazines and radio stations that publicized events and featured news about the trail.
  • And the hundreds of people who bought raffle tickets to help build and maintain the trail. Congratulations to the 14 winners. We hope they are enjoying their prizes.

We hope you'll join us for MST month next October. Whether you like to hike, backpack, paddle, or pedal we'll have events in beautiful settings for all skill levels and outdoor interests. Check back in mid-2011 to explore the list of planned activities.



FMST volunteers are closing in on the final mile of trail to be built at Falls Lake north of Raleigh and Durham. They expect to finish basic construction this coming Sunday, November 21.  (Check out workday details if you'd like to join the trail crew. Check out maps and other information about this section of trail on the FMST website.)


Volunteers picking up tools
Volunteers pick up tools. Photo by Margaret Lillard. 

Then they'll go back in on the newly-built sections to make sure the blazes are easy to follow and any rough patches repaired. Meanwhile work is underway to build a 110-foot pedestrian bridge over Little Lick Creek - the one break in a 60-mile stretch of continuous trail.  The US Corps of Engineers has approved our construction plans.  We're now waiting to get the go-ahead from Durham County to begin seeking construction bids.


The prospects for a continuous sixty-mile stretch of trail in the Piedmont is creating quite a buzz.  The News & Observer wrote a feature article about the October workday, and Joe Miller of GetGoingNC.com has been out exploring the trail - sometimes by night; other times by day.  Read about Joe's adventures and check out his great photos of this beautiful part of the MST.



There are lots of ways to get involved with the MST.  One great way is to get out and hike.  Explore our website to plan your hike.


There are lots of other ways to get involved and meet other MST enthusiasts.  Here is a list of some of the upcoming events:


Trail Workdays -

                Watauga (near Boone) - Saturday, November 20

                Falls Lake (near Raleigh/Durham) - Sunday, November 21

                Eno River (near Durham) - Saturday, December 4

                South Ashe (near Jefferson) - Saturday, December 11


NC Friends of State Parks Conference - January 21-23,Nags Head


FMST Annual Meeting - Saturday, February 5 at Haw River State Park, Browns Summit


MST 12-Mile Challenge @ Falls Lake - Saturday, April 9th,, Raleigh


Your gift will help FMST build, protect and promote the MST now and for the future.  Please join us 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