Trail News: From the Mountains to the Sea      
                                                                    May 2016

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MST Guidebook Series Complete

Guidebooks are now available for every segment of the MST. You can view, download, and print each of them from the Friends website, and there is also a version for better viewing on your mobile device.  Several segments (5, 10, 12B, 13B, 14B and 15B) are also available for purchase in print versions.

Since our last e-newsletter, we've posted the following trail segments:
Also, take some time to look at the interactive google map on the website. It is an easy way to peruse the route of the trail, to learn where the different trail segments are located, and to get driving directions to trail heads.

MST App Available

Friends has uploaded data about the MST into the new hiking trail app - - which includes trails all over the United States. The app lets you see your exact location on a trail map on your mobile phone, and it works even if you lose cell coverage. If you like to use online mapping and information while on the trail, please use the app and take time to make the MST information even better by uploading photos, adding info about trail conditions, voting on your favorite parts of the MST.

May is MST Month!
Buy a Raffle Ticket
Great Outdoor Provision Co. has once again donated fabulous prizes including eleven $100 to $500 gift cards. Buy your tickets online now or at any NC Great Outdoor Provision Co. store through Saturday, June 4.
Great Outdoor Provision Co. has organized a series of Saturday hikes on the new Coastal Crescent route of the MST.  This is a great opportunity to see some of the highlights of the trail in that gorgeous, fascinating area: Carolina Bays, the Let'Lones, Long Leaf Pine savannahs, and historic sites.
Learn more and sign up on the GetHiking! Meetup site by following the links below:
Saturday, May 14 @ 9:30 - Jones Lake State Park and Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest (MST Segment 13B)
Saturday, May 21 @ 10 am - Holly Shelter (MST Segment 15B)
Saturday, May 28 @ 10 am - BW Wells Savannah and Penderlea Homestead (MST Segment 14B)
Saturday, June 4 @ 9 am - Howell Woods Environmental and Bentonville Battlefield (MST Segment 12B)


In December, NC Now on UNC-TV featured the work of volunteers building new MST in Elkin and along the Haw River in Alamance County.
Mountains-to-Sea Trail/UNC-TV/NC Now

Want to Volunteer?
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, Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected] or 919-518-1713.
New MST Opens along the Haw River
Thanks and congratulations to Alamance County and Friends volunteers for completing another four miles of trail, known as the Sellers Falls Section, along the Haw River near Burlington.

This new stretch of trail brings the total continuous miles of MST in this area to eight, and this is in addition to several shorter sections of trail along the Haw that we hope to incorporate soon into the route that hikers use to complete the trek across state. Alamance County and the towns along the Haw have been extraordinary leaders in the effort to the build the MST. Almost all of this trail has opened in the last eight years after they made a commitment to protect the river and make it accessible for walking and paddling.
To explore the newly built trail, use the MST Segment 9 trail guide (EB Miles 22.4 to 30.8; WB Miles 27.0 to 35.3), the map developed by Alamance County, or the Hiking Project trail app for MST Segment 9.

The Haw River

We're also eagerly awaiting the July opening of a new bridge in Hillsborough that will connect the Riverwalk section through downtown Hillsborough to the Occonnechee Speedway trail and MST along mountain laurel bluffs overlooking the Eno River. This bridge is being built by the nonprofit Classical American Homes which owns Ayr Mount as well as the speedway and river bluffs. We so appreciate their willingness to open their beautiful, historic properties to the public and the MST.

The new Haw River trail is the red line near Burlington. In Hillsborough, the new bridge will connect two sections of trail represented by the two short red lines. Map by Curtis Belyea

Thanks to our Donors
Thanks to Duke Energy Foundation for a $35,000 grant to help Friends develop a master plan for the Coastal Crescent route.  This wonderful route through the southeastern Coastal Plain already has 80 miles of trail and opportunities to build substantially more. This generous grant will help us work with public land managing agencies and local governments to further enhance the trail in this special part of North Carolina. 
First Citizens Bank has donated $10,000 to help Friends organize two special events for the MST's 40th anniversary in 2017.  One will be the 2nd biennial conference for leaders of trail towns along the MST that will be held in Elkin on February 3, 2017 in conjunction with the annual meeting. The other will be "MST in a Day" on September 9, 2017 - the same day that Howard Lee recommended creating an MST 40 years before - when we hope to have the entire MST hiked by hundreds of people, each walking a three to fifteen mile section of their choice.
And thanks to the federal Recreational Trails Program, administered by NC State Parks, which has donated $200,000 to help Friends build a pedestrian bridge over Boone Fork along the MST in Price Park near Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thanks also to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation for providing the needed match of $50,000 which will allow us to complete the project.  We hope to complete the bridge in 2016, the 100th anniversary of both the National Park Service and NC State Parks.
Boone Fork in Motion. Photo by Robert Moore

Save the Date!
2017 Annual Meeting and 40th Anniversary Gala
Friday, February 3 to Saturday, February 4
Elkin, NC
2017 is the 40th anniversary of Howard Lee's speech recommending the creation of a trail from the mountains to the sea. To celebrate, we're planning a gala dinner on Friday, February 3rd and annual meeting on Saturday, February 4th in the great trail town of Elkin.
Plan to come Friday and stay thru Sunday, so you can also attend some of the great hikes, paddles, winery tours, and other special tours that the Elkin Valley Trails Association is organizing to help you explore this special part of North Carolina and see the extraordinary work they are doing to build the MST between Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain State Parks.

Walking the trail into Elkin. Photo by Joe Mickey

Registration for all the events will open in August, but please put the event on your calendar now so you don't miss the fun!
If you were at the 2016 annual meeting, check out all the photos on facebook and tag your friends. Thanks to Tom Griffin for taking photographs that day.

4 Great Ways to Support the MST
ONE: Become a member of the Friends. 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 too. $20 of your annual fee will come back to Friends 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 Friends 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. Friends code numbers are: State employee campaign - 1102; Federal employee campaign - 30392; United Way of the Triangle - 60001159.

FOUR: Give through Amazon Smile. Amazon has created a very easy way to give to Friends through That website works the same way works, has the same products and uses your same passwords. The only difference is that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice. When you first use, it will ask you to select a charity to receive your gifts. It's easy to find Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the list. After that, every time you purchase through, your purchases will help build, protect, and promote the MST!
Happy Trails to You!

Kate Dixon
(919) 698 9024
[email protected]

Volunteers and members are the heart of 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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