Mark your Calendars: 2017 is the MST’s 40th Anniversary!

On September 9, 1977, Howard N. Lee, then Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, made an audacious speech to a National Trails Symposium at Lake Junaluska which has fired the imaginations and energy of NC trail enthusiasts ever since. In that speech, Lee recommended that North Carolina build a “trail from the mountains to the coast, a trail leading through communities as well as natural areas.”

Almost forty years later, that trail has become a reality. Nearly 700 miles of trail have been built, and people now walk across North Carolina, using back road connections where trail has not yet been built. Every year new trail opens, and more and more people enjoy the trail for day hikes with their families, overnight backpack trips with friends, and cross-state treks which become adventures of a lifetime.

To celebrate the accomplishments of the last forty years and prepare for the future, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail is planning a series of fun, informative events as well as publishing a complete set of hiking guides. Mark your calendars now, and sign up for registration materials so you can get involved.

Gathering of Friends – Friday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26, 2017 – Elkin
40th Anniversary celebrations kick-off with an expanded annual meeting in Elkin.

Regional Trail Guides – Release date – Friday, March 24, 2017
Friends will be publishing trail guidebooks for three regions of the trail – mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain/Outer Banks.

MST Communities Conference – Thursday, May 4 to Friday, May 5, 2017 – Elkin
The 2nd biennial conference will provide an opportunity for elected officials, government staff, and tourism leaders of communities along the MST to learn how to support hikers and make the trail a success in their area.

Jennifer Pharr Davis Hikes the MST – August to November – North Carolina wide
National Geographic 2012 Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis, who lives in Asheville, will hike the entire MST starting in August. She will spend 3 to 4 months on the trail, and along the way MST Friends will have an opportunity to meet her at special events and hikes and read about her adventures as she blogs, posts on facebook and instagram, and speaks to local media.

MST in a Day – Saturday, September 9, 2017 – North Carolina wide
Forty years to the day that Howard Lee gave his original speech, you and hundreds of other trail enthusiasts are invited to walk or paddle a portion of the trail so that, through our collective efforts, 100% of the trail will be covered in a single day. You will be able to register to hike your favorite section or sign up to explore a new area starting at the Gathering of Friends in March.


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