On September 9, 1977, Howard Lee, then the North Carolina Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, made an audacious speech which has fired the imaginations and energy of trail enthusiasts ever since. In that speech, Lee recommended that North Carolina build a “state trail from the mountains to the coast, a trail leading through communities as well as natural areas.”
Now almost forty years later, that trail has become a reality. Nearly 700 miles of trail have been built and people follow the MST across North Carolina, using back road connections where trail has not yet been built. Every year a new trail opens, and more and more people enjoy the trail for day hikes with their families, overnight backpack trips with friends, and even cross-state treks which become adventures of a lifetime.
Friends of the MST is organizing a series of events to celebrate the accomplishments of the first 40 years and build for the future. Mark your calendars now!
The weekend of March 24th through 26th kicks off the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the MST with an expanded annual meeting, the Gathering of Friends, in Elkin, a friendly trail town between Stone and Pilot Mountain state parks that has enthusiastically embraced the MST.
The weekend will officially begin Friday evening with a Hiking Boot Gala – an evening of fellowship and recognition of the accomplishments of the first 40 years.
On Saturday, the annual membership meeting will focus on where the trail is headed and goals for the next 40 years. National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis, who will hike the MST in 2017, will be the keynote speaker.
Throughout the weekend – from Friday through mid-day Sunday – the Elkin Valley Trail Association is organizing a program of great Trail & Town Excursions – from hikes to mountain biking, from winery tours to paddling on the Yadkin – to help attendees explore the great MST sections in the area. Many of these will start mid-day on Friday, so plan to head up early to explore the area.
More information about the annual meeting as well as the great hikes set up by the Elkin Valley Trail Association, visit here: https://mountainstoseatrail.org/mst40th/
RSVP's are due by March 17th and you can register here:
SIGNING UP HERE IS NOT A CONFORMATION. THIS IS JUST AN ANNOUNCEMENT. YOU HAVE TO REGISTER WITH MOUNTAINSTOSEATRAIL.ORG TO ATTEND.
This is informational because so many of us in this group enjoy this trail from the Smoky Mountains, to the Tanawha Trail, to Hanging Rock and the Falls Lake trail before heading east along the Neuse River or the Crescent trail. This is a great place to meet people from all over the state who love this trail and see what is planned as we move forward.