A Tribute to Bob Benner – Master Trail Builder, River Guide and Conservation Leader

Over the past four decades of volunteer citizen efforts to create a trail from the mountains to the coast of North Carolina, few individuals are as revered as Bob Benner. Sadly, Bob passed away on December 4, 2019 in Morganton at the age of 89 from ALS.

Bob was widely known for his dedication as an outdoor adventure educator and whitewater canoeing guidebook author and co-author (with his son David). From the moment he arrived in North Carolina in the early 1970’s he was engaged in all manner of regional and statewide conservation initiatives—including planning, locating and building a major segment of the Mountains -to-Sea Trail.

Bob Benner was the founding leader of the Central Blue Ridge Task Force and served in that capacity until 2009. His influence on the trail route location was pivotal as he undertook to take the trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor for 75 miles from Mount Mitchell, through Pisgah National Forest and Linville Gorge Wilderness to Grandfather Mountain. This area is renowned for its remote, wild character including major cliffs, waterfalls rushing streams and breath-taking vistas.

To commemorate Bob’s legacy for North Carolina trails and rivers, his wife, Donna, has requested that we keep their families in our prayers and paddle, or take a hike in his memory.

Read full tribute…


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