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Trail News: From the mountains to the sea 
Take a Hike to Celebrate the MST's 41st Birthday!

Help celebrate North Carolina's trail by taking a hike the weekend of 
Friday, September 7 to Sunday, September 9 !

Walk anytime that weekend!

Walk where you want!

Walk with whomever you want!

The Big Screw-In!

Signs are going up along the road sections of the current MST route.

Protect Yourself from Ticks

Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing clothing treated with an insect repellant called permethrin as a way to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. Insect Shield, a Greensboro-based company, is one of the major retailers of permethrin treated clothing. They sell pre-treated clothing online, and you can also mail them your own clothing to treat. 

Thanks to Insect Shield for committing to donate 10% of the value of any online purchase by MST members and friends. To ensure that Friends of MST receives credit for your purchase, be sure to use this link to place your order.

Share your Opinion about Sunday Hunting on NC Game Lands

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking participation in an  online survey  to gauge public opinion about opening  61 select game lands  for Sunday hunting. Five of these game lands are along the Coastal Crescent route of the MST: Croatan National Forest, Holly Shelter, Stones Creek, Suggs Mill Pond, and Whitehall Plantation. The survey will be available through Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, and data collected will be used to evaluate options for Sunday hunting on game lands.

Friends Raises $274,838 through 40th Anniversary Campaign

Last year, we launched a special campaign to raise $200,000 for four purposes: 1) increasing awareness of the MST, 2) installing signs and kiosks, 3) building bridges and boardwalks, and 4) providing tools for volunteers. We're delighted to report that we blew past that goal to raise a total of $274,838. Read the Campaign Impact Report to learn more about what the campaign has made possible.

Mark Your Calendar for the 2019 Gathering of Friends

Glorious Sunrise on Topsail Island. Photo by PJ Wetzel.

Join us in Surf City - Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24 - for the 2019 Gathering of Friends. It's a great opportunity to hear the latest MST news, meet fellow trail enthusiasts, learn new skills, and explore some of the special places along the Coastal Crescent route of the MST.

Companies Celebrate the MST

For the 10th consecutive year, REI Coop has made a spectacular grant to help the MST. This year, we've received $25,000 from the Charlotte, Pineville, Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Greensboro stores. $5,000 will be used to restore four miles of eroded trail in the Pisgah National Forest (see more below in News Briefs) and $20,000 will be used to update the trail guides, improve signage, and provide tools needed by our volunteer trail crews.

With notes of green apple, honey and citrus, Joe Van Gogh's MST coffee blend tastes like summer! For the second year, Joe Van Gogh is donating proceeds from coffee sales to support the MST. The blend is available through September online  and in all Joe Van Gogh coffee houses in Durham and Chapel Hill and at The Green Bean in Greensboro through the end of September.

Hiker Resources
Heidi Domeisen completing the MST.

We're creating a hub of information on our website for people who are seeking to hike the entire MST. Jerry Barker, who completed the trail in 2017, has written two fact-filled articles to help you start planning. Please send ideas about other information you'd like to see on the page to Betsy Brown at

Strategic Plan Released for Coastal Crescent Route

The Coastal Crescent route of the MST took a big step forward with completion of a strategic plan for development of the trail. 

MST News Briefs - Mountains
On Shortoff Mountain overlooking Linville Gorge. Photo by Adam Warwick.


In June, NC State Parks and volunteers from the Carolina Mountain Club worked together to construct trail needed for the MST to by-pass two tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This trail was the last construction needed to complete the MST in the mountains. Work is now underway to blaze the final route so that it can be opened to the public in the not-too-distant future!


REI stores in Charlotte have made a generous grant of $5000 to help restore 4.4 miles of the MST in the Pisgah National Forest (MST Segment 4) that follow old, eroded road beds. We'll use the funds to hire a professional trail builder to re-contour the trail and create water diversions with a small backhoe. Volunteers will then do the finish work with hand tools. If you are interested in helping, please e-mail Doug Veazey at

MST News Briefs - Piedmont
Falls Lake bridge volunteers. Photo by Paul Wicklund.

T hanks to team work between NC State Parks, Wilkes County, and the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA), projects needed to open Carter Falls to the public are well underway. This beautiful property was the first tract purchased for the MST with state bond funds approved by voters in 2016.

EVTA and Explore Elkin are organizing the first annual NC Trail Days! Put May 31 to June 2, 2019 on your calendar, and visit for more info.

The Town of Oak Ridge has appointed a citizen advisory committee to help plan, build and promote the MST in town. They are already hard at work educating town residents about the trail and planning the first two off-road segments. One of these, through Guilford County's Cascades Preserve, is expected to open soon.

In April, Guilford County opened 2.2 miles of trail through its 720-acre  County Farm Park, built by volunteers from our Upper Haw River Task Force.

Glencoe step repair.
Matt Lawson with the NC Trails Program worked with Upper Haw River Task Force volunteers to repair steps in the popular Glencoe section of the MST in Alamance County.

Friends just signed a memorandum of agreement to assist Orange County with planning, public outreach, landowner contact, trail building and signage, and raising funds for the MST. The Orange County Commissioners approved a conceptual plan for the trail route there in January.

Our Eno River Task Force volunteers completed a reroute of the Cox Mountain Trail in the Eno River State Park in May. This new link is one step in the process of completing a new section of the MST through  Eno River State Park from the Pleasant Green Road trail head to Hillsborough.

The Falls Lake Task Force undertook a challenging project to replace a washed out bridge with a 40' fiberglass bridge made of parts pre-fabricated to be assembled on site. Materials, including bags of concrete and other building material, were carried more than a mile to the site via wheelbarrow, ATV and boat. Engineering issues and heavy rains added to the complexity of the project, so July 7 was an exciting day when more than 20 volunteers worked together to lift the trusses into place. Although more work is needed, the bridge opening is finally in sight. Thanks to volunteer Arthur Kelley for his exceptional project leadership. Funding for the bridge was provided by Triangle Community Foundation, Durham County's Matching Grants Program, and friends and family who gave in memory of Dustin Powers.
New signs on the Raleigh greenway. Photo by John French.

Thanks to a grant from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), Raleigh's Neuse River Greenway now has signs designating the route of the MST from the Falls Lake dam to the Johnston County line. RTP is a Federal Highway Administration grant program administered by the NC Division of Parks & Recreation.
MST News Briefs - Coastal Plain and Outer Banks
Roseboro greenway vision by Ben Jones.

A new MST volunteer task force for MST Segment 12 held its first workday in February to help the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site begin construction of a new trail which will become part of the MST route in Johnston County. The task force is planning more workdays in the Fall. Please contact our Task Force Leader Michael Bradley at if you'd like to get involved.

Ben Jones, a grad student in Landscape Architecture at NCSU, has developed a greenway design for Roseboro, a Sampson County town on MST Segment 12, as well as a native plant landscaping plan for Roseboro's interchanges on the new NC 24 By-Pass. Ben is organizing a volunteer workday on Saturday, September 29 to lay mulch and plant trees along the first phase of the greenway which will follow an old railroad bed through downtown. Contact Ben Jones at  if you'd like to be involved.

Turnbull Educational State Forest in Bladen County has offered to construct a foot bridge which will allow us to shift the MST route onto two miles of trail through this special place. They've asked for volunteer help to build a short section of trail from NC 242 to the bridge site this fall. If you'd like to help, please contact Task Force Leader Carl deAndrade at

Through the process of developing the strategic plan for the Coastal Crescent route (see story above), we created a 4.5-mile "ferry leg" down the NE Cape Fear River. Our goal was to shorten the road walk and also give thru-hikers a unique experience on a blackwater river renowned for its beauty and diverse wildlife. Pender County Tourism has recruited boat owners to act as "trail angels" by ferrying thru-hikers down the river.

Thanks to the NC Coastal Land Trust for providing a much-needed campsite for MST hikers at their beautiful Everett Creek Preserve in Segment 15 near Sneads Ferry.

Open Ponds Trail on OBX. Photo by PJ Wetzel.
And thanks to the NC Coastal Federation and NC State Parks for designating trail within the federation's 6000+ acre North River Wetland Preserve in Carteret County (Segment 17) as MST. Thru-hikers will not be able to use this part of the trail to complete their hike until a bridge and boardwalk are constructed over the North River at the northwestern corner of the preserve, but, in the meantime, this is a very special place to explore and see the outstanding work the federation is doing to restore wetlands on this former farm.

The replacement for the Bonner Bridge that connects Hatteras Island to Bodie Island on the Outer Banks is expected to be complete by year-end. MST hikers trekking to and from Jockey's Ridge will certainly appreciate that this bridge has 8-foot-wide shoulders for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Four great ways to support the MST
ONE: Become a member. Join online or print and mail your membership form today.

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 MST to build, protect, and promote the trail. Order your plate directly from NC DMV.

THREE: If your employer hosts a workplace-giving campaign, look for Friends of MST as a giving option. We are a member of EarthShare NC 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's way of letting you support nonprofits when you purchase online. The Amazon Smile 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 directly to the charity of your choice if you enter through the Smile portal. Use this link to start giving to Friends of MST every time you buy on Amazon.
Happy Trails to You!

Kate Dixon

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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