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Trail News: From the Mountains to the Sea     
                                                        October 2015

MST Marketing Plan Underway

Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the NC Department of Commerce, FMST has started work on a marketing plan to promote the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Our goal is to help even more potential hikers know what the trail is and how to hike it now.

We've hired Destination by Design, a Boone-based firm that helps create and promote trails, greenways, parks and Main Streets to help develop the plan.

Watch your e-mail over the next couple of months because we'll be seeking your advice and ideas about how to promote and improve the trail. Your knowledge and love for the trail will help us develop a great plan!

The MST photo contest deadline is fast approaching. Submit your photos by Saturday, October 31st to win fame and great prizes too! 

FMST Annual Meeting

Sat, Feb 6 - Join other MST enthusiasts at FMST's Annual Meeting at Elon University. It's a great way to hear what's new with the trail and learn how you can hike, build trail and help in other ways. 
Interested in Volunteering?

There are many ways to get involved. Check out our list of volunteer jobs and calendar to find scheduled workdays and other events. If you have ideas about other ways to help, please contact Betsy Brown at [email protected] or 919-518-1713.
FMST Staff Transition
JoEllen Mason, who has served as FMST's first-ever Outreach Coordinator since June 2013, is transitioning out of the position as Betsy Brown steps in.  

JoEllen Mason
JoEllen, who first got involved with FMST as the volunteer administrator of our Facebook page, has done great work -- expanding our membership from 600 to more than 900, designing new merchandise, recognizing volunteers and raising awareness of the trail. She will continue working for FMST on a part-time basis through the February 6th annual meeting and as a volunteer after that.  We feel very lucky not to lose her creative energy and love for the trail as she returns to real estate work in Durham. You can contact JoEllen to thank her for her work with FMST at [email protected] or 919-452-4099.

Betsy Brown
We are very excited that Betsy Brown accepted the Outreach Coordinator position and started work on September 15. Betsy also first got involved with FMST as a a volunteer in the office and then as part-time staff to help organize annual meetings and our big "trail town" conference in Hillsborough last year. Betsy brings great experience to FMST from her work in public relations and event and project management at Cat's Cradle, Yep Roc, Mammoth Records and the Snowsports Industries of America. Betsy lives in Raleigh with her husband and two children. You can welcome Betsy to FMST at [email protected] or 919-518-1713.

MST Included in Bond Package
MST painting by Robert Johnson
Thanks to the NC General Assembly for including $75 million for State Parks, including $4.5 million for the MST and other state trails, in the $2 billion bond package approved last week.  The bill has now been sent to Governor McCrory for his signature.

Assuming the Governor signs the bill, final approval will be needed by NC voters. The bond referendum is to be placed on the ballot in March 2016.  

Thanks to each of you who contacted your legislators to ask them to support the bond. Please take a moment to send another e-mail to let them know that you appreciate that the MST and State Parks were included.

We'll let you know more as plans develop to encourage voters to support the bond package.  Your help will be needed to ensure that it passes.
NCDOT Approves Signs for MST Road Sections
At the request of the NC General Assembly, NCDOT's State Signing and Delineation staff released a signage plan to allow FMST to install MST signs along roads that form the "current route" that hikers follow in areas where trail has not yet been built.

The "current route" of the MST includes 620 miles of trail and 530 miles of connecting roads. The image shown on the left is what the signs will look like on the road sections. As new trail is built, FMST will shift the road route and the signs to help hikers navigate across the state. We are excited about the increased visibility these signs will give the MST statewide and particularly in communities where we hope to see additional trail built.

FMST volunteers are starting to work with each NCDOT Division to complete the paperwork to install the signs, and FMST will be raising money to purchase signs. If you would like to help, please contact Kate Dixon at [email protected] or 919-698-9024.
New Trail Guides Released
FMST is making great progress in completing trail guides for the entire MST.  Since our last e-newsletter, we've posted trail guides for the trail segments between: 
  • Clingmans Dome and Waterrock Knob (Segments 1A and 1B)
  • The Coastal Plain including a paddle guide for the Neuse River (Segments 11A-16A) and the Coastal Crescent hiking/biking route (Segments 11B to 15B)
  • The Outer Banks (Segment 18)
By February 2016 in time for the annual meeting, we expect to have published all the remaining guides including ones for:
  • Waterrock Knob to Beacon Heights (Segments 2 to 4)
  • Stone Mt. State Park to the Greensboro watershed lakes (Segments 6 to 8)
  • Croatan National Forest to Cedar Island (Segments 16B and 17)
Please continue to watch the website for new releases and send us comments and suggestions to Kate Dixon at [email protected] or 919-698-9024.  We will be continually updating and improving the guides.
MST in the News
The MST has been in the news a lot in recent months.  Some of our favorite articles and editorials include:
And an article in the Yancey Common News about the opening of a new section of the MST in Pisgah National Forest built by volunteers with the High Peaks Trail Association:

3 Great Ways to Support the MST
ONE: Become an FMST member. 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.

MST license plate with HK TWO: Buy an MST license plate. For $30 per year, you can show the world your love of the trail and help the trail financially two. $20 of your annual fee will come back to FMST to build, protect and promote the trail. You can now order your plate directly from NC DMV.

THREE: If your employer hosts a workplace-giving campaign, look for FMST as a giving option. We are a proud member of Earth Share which promotes workplace giving for conservation and environmental groups. We are a giving option in all North Carolina state and federal employee campaigns and in many local government and corporate campaigns too. FMST code numbers are: State employee campaign - 1102; Federal employee campaign - 30392; United Way of the Triangle - 60001159.
Happy Trails to You!

Kate Dixon
(919) 698 9024
[email protected]

Volunteers are the heart of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  We need people with a wide variety of skills and interests to build and care for this beautiful trail.

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