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August 2011                                                                                 
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In our busiest hiking season to date, five people have already completed the entire MST this year. The "MST Class of 2011" is full of interesting people who had great adventures on the trail:


Heidi Domeisen at Clingmans Dome

Heidi Domeisen completes the MST on June 24.

Scot Ward - who has already thru-hiked the trail three times - hiked it again east to west this spring. Scot is the author of The Thru-Hiker's Manual for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail of North Carolina, the most up-to-date hiking guide for the MST, and he's already updated the guide based on his hike this spring. 


Danny Bernstein - an avid hiker, guidebook author and writer from Asheville kept a lively account of her MST journey on her "This Hiking Life" blog. Now she's working on a new book about hiking the MST.


Heidi Domeisen - showed tremendous perseverance as she had to interrupt her thru-hike for regular returns to western North Carolina for work. Heidi made a special gift to FMST's endowment to thank all the people who helped her on her journey. She writes "There are no strangers on the trail. Just friends you've never met before."


Matt Kirk - ultrarunner and teacher from Marion has set the record for the fastest completion of the MST in 24 days, 3 hours and 50 minutes. Read his "Fool on the Hill" blog  about the journey and be sure to check out the great photos. The Charlotte Observer  and The Asheville Citizen-Times  also wrote about his tremendous feat.


Heather Housekeeper - an herbalist from Asheville set out in May to hike the trail and document the medicinal plants along it. Her fun, inspiring "Botanical Hiker" blog  is full of adventures including accounts of how she handled the record-breaking heat and smoke from the peat fires in Eastern NC. She is planning a guidebook to the plants found along the MST. 



Volunteers groom trail at Big Dig

Volunteers groom trail. Photo by Randy Johnson.

Thanks to the work of more than 50 volunteers on a cold, wet July weekend, only detail work remains on the final five miles in a now continuous 300-mile stretch of the MST in the mountains. The hardy workers, who converged from all over North Carolina, built bridges, steps and new sections of trail. Thanks to Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway for providing camping for many of the volunteers.


John Lanman, the volunteer task force leader for this section of trail in Watauga County, thanked the volunteers for making such a difference. He expects that the trail will be ready for an official opening in Spring 2012.


To see more photos and read full accounts of the weekend, check out Shelton Wilder's "MST Watauga County" blog, Randy Johnson's article in the High Country Press, and outdoor writer Joe Miller's "Get Going NC" blog .



Thanks to a grant from the NC Adopt-a-Trail program and the GIS expertise of volunteer Curtis Belyea, a new interactive google map of the trail is on FMST's website. Over time we will continue to add locations of trail heads, camp sites and points of interest. Check it out and send your comments and suggestions to Kate Dixon, Executive Director, at [email protected].



This year, for the first time, FMST will be a giving option in more than 100 workplace giving campaigns. Look for us as one of the members of Earth Share NC, an organization that helps its member environmental organizations participate in workplace giving in North Carolina.  


Presenting a gift to FMST

Great Outdoor Provision Co. presents a gift to FMST volunteers

If FMST is part of your workplace giving campaign, we'd welcome your help in spreading the word about FMST and Earth Share to your fellow employees. If we're not part of your campaign, but you'd like to see us added, we'd be happy to share information about how Earth Share groups including FMST can become a giving option.


Please contact Kate Dixon, FMST's Executive Director, at 919-698-9024 or [email protected] if you'd like to help FMST be part of your workplace giving campaign.




In June, the NC General Assembly authorized a special license plate for the MST if FMST can presell at least 300 plates by July 2013. Thanks to Senator Neal Hunt and Rep. Nelson Dollar for being the primary sponsors of the bill, and thanks to Rep. Jennifer Weiss for her help in following up with DMV.


The special plate will be a great way to raise awareness and funds for the MST. Every year, DMV will remit $20 of the $30 cost of each plate to FMST to help us build, promote and protect the trail. We hope you'll be one of the first to sport one on your car!


Look for an e-mail survey later this month when we'll be asking your opinion about several possible designs for the plate. We'll use the results of the survey to select the final plate design and begin taking orders soon after that. DMV will mail the plates after the first 300 are sold.


If you'd like to buy a plate or you'd like to join the committee to help design and sell them, please e-mail Don Bergey, chair of the FMST License Plate Committee, at [email protected].





Volunteers carry railroad ties for trail

Volunteers build trail thanks to RTP funding. Photo by Randy Johnson.

Six members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation were among the 74 US House members who signed a "Dear Colleague" letter in support of funding for the national Recreational Trails Program. This program is FMST's most important source of funding for building and maintaining trail, and it is in danger of being eliminated in the current budget debates.


North Carolina Congressmen signing the letter were Rep. Howard Coble (R); Rep. David Price (D); Walter Jones, Jr. (R); Melvin Watt (D); G.K. Butterfield (D); and Brad Miller (D). Please thank them for support of this great, cost-effective program.  



MST Cake

Pat Jenks with MST Cake. Photo by Patti Stokes, Northwest Observer.

Guilford County and the towns of Summerfield and Stokesdale are hard at work on a plan to turn the abandoned Atlantic & Yadkin railroad corridor into the new route of the MST in that area.


To help residents learn more about the plan, the Summerfield Parks & Recreation Committee (SPARC) organized a 1/2-mile hike on the old railroad bed and a trail presentation and lunch at the beautiful Gardens at Gray Gables in downtown Summerfield.


The more than 50 people who attended even got to enjoy a piece of delicious MST cake!



Thanks to The Design Response for donating office space in its cheerful office on Evans Road in Cary when FMST outgrew the space that Restoration Systems has generously donated for three years. The Design Response is a land planning firm, and its Senior Designer is FMST's Board Secretary Liz King. 




Annual Report 2011 coverSo many things happened on the MST last year. Read all about it in FMST's 2010 annual report. Highlights include:

  • More than 1,000 volunteers contributed 18,295 hours
  • The "Put Another Log on the Fire" campaign met its $40,000 goal
  • 25 new miles of trail opened near Boone
  • More than 1,600 people participated in October's Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month

Would you like to receive your own printed copy of the beautiful report in the mail next year? That's one of the benefits of being an FMST member. Join today to be part of the team that builds, protects, and promotes the trail.



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.


Keep informed about what the media is saying about the MST and check out our favorite blogs, videos and articles.


Check out the calendar to find a workday or event.  


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