Despite a very rainy Saturday that could have changed the BIG DIG into the BIG DELUGE, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail attracted volunteers from across North Carolina and recently came very close to finishing the Blue Ridge Parkway portion of the trail from the Great Smokies to the Outer Banks. (A section still remains to be completed in the mountains near Cherokee.)
Watauga County Task Force Leader John Lanman, of Boone, the High Country town at the heart of the trail, oversaw two days of work flanking the Blue Ridge Parkway from US 321 to Bamboo Gap. Many new sections of trail were dug into soaking wet hillsides and more than one bridge was built over streams.
Many of the volunteers camped at the Parkway's Price Park Campground.
Despite cold, wet, difficult conditions in the high elevation area, Mr. Lanman said the Watauga County section of the MST was complete. He expected that it would be finalized by fall and ready to open in spring 2012.
He thanked "all the FMST members and other volunteers from around the state who made such a difference."
The completion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Watauga is just one example of the energized local trail community that is volunteering in a number of locations to increase the hiking and mountain biking options in the Boone area and focusing a lot of work on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Projects include the Tanawha Trail portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway, mountain biking and hiking trails at Boone’s Rocky Knob Park, at the Adventure Trail Park on Beech Mountain (Eastern America's highest town), and at local state parks, including Grandfather Mountain and Elk Knob.
To check out volunteer opportunities on Boone area trails, visit this site.