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Trail News: From the mountains to the sea 
Sign Up Now to Hike 1,175 Miles in One Day!
On Saturday, September 9 - only six weeks from now - we need YOU to collaborate with hundreds of others across North Carolina to hike and paddle the entire 1,175 miles of the MST in one day.  Registration is open now - follow the instructions on to sign up.
MST in a Day commemorates a speech on September 9, 1977 by Howard Lee, then the NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development. He told a National Trails Symposium in Waynesville that North Carolina should create a "state trail from the mountains to the coast, leading through communities as well as natural areas."

We're asking people to sign up to complete a "leg" of the trail on September 9. Most legs are three to five miles, although some are longer in remote parts of the trail. 

You can hike on your own schedule any time on September 9, alone or with friends and family. When you've completed your leg, we ask that you let us know you've done your part, and we'll mark your leg complete on our online map. Send a few photos too, and we'll display those as part of a glorious slideshow of one day on the MST. 

Legs are still available in most trail segments. This could be a great day to explore a part of the trail you've never visited before! 
Jennifer Pharr Davis to start MST Trek August 15
We hope you'll follow the adventures of Jennifer Pharr Davis on her three-month, 1,175-mile hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  

Although Jennifer is most famous for setting speed records, her goal this time is different. She is undertaking this journey on the MST's 40th anniversary to "encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience this amazing trail that's right outside our back doors."

Jennifer's hike will be a family affair. Her husband Brew will handle logistics, and he and their two children - 4-year-old Charley and 10-month-old Gus - will join her frequently on the trail.

Jennifer is a vibrant writer and a warm and inspiring speaker. She'll be blogging and posting regularly about her adventures on the MST, and she will also be speaking and answering questions at four special events across North Carolina.

You can follow Jennifer's trek in two ways:

First - sign up to receive a weekly e-mail with links to her blog, photos and Facebook posts.

Second - come hear Jennifer at one of her four public events. Use the links below to register. All events are from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. Admission is free with a donation to help Friends of the MST build, protect and promote the trail.
Calling all Volunteers!
This is a super busy time of the year for promoting the MST!  We have lots of fun opportunities statewide to help spread the word about the MST at:
  • REI Garage Sales in Cary and Durham on August 12
  • Mast General Stores (Asheville, Hendersonville, Boone, Valle Crucis, and Winston Salem) on September 9 when they are donating 10% of sales to Friends of MST
  • White Dot Session IPA beer tastings at Total Wine (several dates in August)
  • Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival on August 12 and 13
  • MST in a Day Community Celebration in Hillsborough on September 9

To sign up to volunteer at any of these events, click here.  We provide information and materials to help you tell the MST story.  Questions? Email Betsy Brown

Socks, Beer and Coffee celebrate the MST
Three North Carolina companies are making fun, delicious and comfortable products that can be enjoyed throughout the day - on and off the trail - by MST enthusiasts. Proceeds from all these products will help Friends of the MST build, protect and promote the trail.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB) of Boone has created a White Dot Session IPA in honor of the MST. The beer's name is inspired by the MST blaze. Throughout the summer, the White Dot Session IPA will be available in draught and cans in many locations across North Carolina.  In August, White Dot will be beer of the month at all Total Wine stores in North Carolina. It's available now at Total Wine and most bottleshops.

Mt. Airy-based Farm to Feet, makers of 100% American socks, has introduced a collection of hiking socks that celebrates the MST.  The Farm to Feet Mountains-to-Sea Trail collection includes six styles with designs inspired by sections of the trail.  Each sock is made with 19.5 micron US wool and features reinforced heal and toe sections, under lacing protection and a seamless toe closure. The socks are available at many outdoor outfitters and online
Joe Van Gogh Coffee has created an MST coffee blend with notes of green apple, honey and citrus which will be available through the end of September.  The MST Blend is available in all Joe Van Gogh coffee houses in Durham and Chapel Hill and at The Green Bean in Greensboro. It is also available online

NC General Assembly adds Coastal Crescent route to the MST
Thanks to the North Carolina General Assembly for its unanimous vote to add the Coastal Crescent Trail in Southeastern North Carolina as an official route of the MST. Governor Cooper signed the bill into law on June 28, 2017.

The bill directs the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Friends of the MST to work in cooperation to plan and develop the Coastal Crescent route in Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender, and Onslow counties.

We particularly appreciate the leadership of the primary bill sponsors:  Senator Brent Jackson of Sampson County and Representatives Phil Shepard (Onslow), Pat McElraft (Carteret and Jones),  Donna White (Johnston) and Larry Strickland (Johnston).  Please take a moment to send your House and Senate member an e-mail of thanks for their support for the MST.  

A new sign on Topsail Island along the Coastal Crescent route directs hikers to Clingmans Dome, Elkin and other MST landmarks.
MST community leaders gathered in Elkin in May
More than 60 leaders of communities from Sylva to Burgaw attended the 2nd Biennial Conference for MST Communities. Attendees included elected officials, local government staff, and tourism, chamber and economic development leaders. They gathered in Elkin to learn more about how long-distance trails like the MST can benefit their communities and share ideas about ways we can work together to help the trail and hikers who use it.

Leslie Schlender, Elkin's Economic Development Director, shows conferees what her town is doing to build and promote the MST. Photo by Joe Mickey.

Presenters at the conference spoke about diverse topics including funding, marketing, working with utilities and understanding the economic impact of trails. Speakers from London-Laurel County in Kentucky and the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin shared their experiences in building trails and trail town economies. Elkin also organized a great tour of projects they are working on including a downtown trail center, MST directional signs and sidewalk stencils, new camping options, and pedestrian bridges.

Check out the conference agenda and presentations available to all in a dropbox folder.

To learn more about how you can get involved in the MST Communities Project, please e-mail Kate Dixon, Executive Director.
MST News Briefs

Workers restore the Mt. Mitchell Trail
Mt. Mitchell Trail ( MST Segment 3) - NC High Peaks Trail Association (HPTA) has just rebuilt an eroded one-mile section of the Mt. Mitchell Trail, one of the most popular and iconic trails in the United States. MST hikers follow the Mt. Mitchell Trail on its 5.6-mile, 4,000 foot climb from the Black Mountain Campground in the Pisgah National Forest to the Mt. Mitchell summit at 6,684 feet. Funding for this project came from NC State Parks through the Recreational Trails Program with a match from private donations. HPTA sees this project as the first of several that will rebuild the entire trail using sustainable trail design.

Greentown Trail ( MST Segment 4) - This four-mile section of the MST runs between NC 181 and Chestnut Mountain near the Burke-Caldwell County line. The US Forest Service, Northwest NC Mountain Bike Alliance and Friends of the MST have been able to install 103 water diversions to restore and protect the trail. This project would have taken years of back-breaking labor but funding from Table Rock Ultras and Tanawha Adventures allowed diversions along 2.75 miles of the trail to be machine dug by a bobcat operator. Volunteers then hand-finished the diversions dug by machine as well as hand-built others on 1.25 miles that were only accessible with hand tools.

Orange County ( MST Segment 9) - Over the last year and a half, more than 100 MST supporters in Orange County have shared their ideas as county staff and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority developed a plan to build the trail to connect Saxapahaw to Hillsborough.  In anticipation of the Board of Commissioners vote in September, MST friends  sent a letter to express their strong support for the plan and to urge the county to establish a firm schedule to complete its part of the MST by 2030.

Reenactors at Bentonville Battlefield. Photo by NC Division of State Historic Sites.
New bridges along Falls Lake ( MST Segment 10) - In an effort to reduce long-term costs, our volunteer task force at Falls Lake will soon be replacing two older, sway-backed 40-foot wooden bridges with new bridges built of strong, light-weight fiberglass components, designed to be hand-carried to a construction site. The initial cost of these fiberglass bridges is higher than their wooden counterparts, but we expect their cost to be much lower over the long-term. We appreciate the generous funding from Durham County, Triangle Community Foundation, and gifts made in memory of Dustin Powers, that are making them possible.

Trail plans for Agricultural Heartland Segment ( MST Segment 12B) - Thanks to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for three grants totaling $30,000 to fund detailed plans for the MST on three historic and conservation properties: Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County, Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve in Sampson County, and Bushy Lake State Natural Area in Cumberland County.

Four great ways to support the MST
ONE: Become a member. Financial donations make this trail possible. You can join online or print and mail your membership form.

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 financially too. $20 of your annual fee will come back to Friends of the MST to build, protect, and promote the trail. You can order your plate directly from NC DMV.

THREE: If your employer hosts a workplace-giving campaign, look for Friends of the MST as a giving option. We are a proud member of EarthShare 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 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 Smile will donate 0.5% of your purchase directly 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
919-825-0297 x 701

Volunteers 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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