PDA

View Full Version : 25 More Miles added to the Blue Ridge Parkway section of the MST



Tennessee Viking
10-07-2010, 22:50
http://www.hikertohiker.com/thishikinglife/archive/2010/10/04/mountains-to-sea-trail-dedication-oct-2-2010

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Dedication - Oct. 2, 2010
filed under: mountains-to-sea


25 miles.

It doesnít seem very much when youíre trying to walk about 1,000 miles through North Carolina from Clingmans Dome to the Atlantic Ocean on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. But when the 25 miles happen to be in Watauga County and South Ashe County and thatís the section youíre hiking next, itís huge. The section goes from Bamboo Gap to NC 16, generally north of Blowing Rock and south of Doughton Park.

On Saturday (October 2), over 150 people gathered in E.B. Jeffress Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway to dedicate these new miles and walk on them officially for the first time. Jeffress Park at milepost 272 is a long way from Asheville but I was one of those folks who participated.

Kate Dixon, Executive Director of Friends of the MST, explained the importance of this dedication.

ďNot only is it a beautiful section of trail but it means that the MST is almost done in the mountains.Ē

The MC of the program was Liz King, Board Secretary of the Friends of the MST.

Monika Mayr, Deputy Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway spoke about the expanding recreational opportunities on the Parkway. Itís fitting that this was done during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Jim Hallsey and John Lanman, Volunteer Task Force Leader for South Ashe and Watauga respectively, were the stars of the show. They were the guys who led troops of volunteers to dig, saw, and prepare the trail for hikers.

Jim gave us some ďfun factsĒ that were quite serious.

These 25 miles involved 150 volunteers who worked 6,700 hours in 730 work days. This comes out to a value of $75,000.

The two task force leaders presented the trail to people for generations to come.

The South Ashe section was declared finished. The Watauga section still has three miles to go which will replace seven miles of road walk on the Parkway.

Carol Tingley, Deputy Director of NC Division of Parks and Recreation, reminded the audience that the MST is a linear state park. ďAnd weíre more than half-way there.Ē

Then the actual ribbon cutting. They had fashioned a ribbon held by groups of trail tools. Representatives of both task forces, including John and Jimís grandchildren, did the actual cutting.

We sat down at picnic tables and enjoyed a wonderful buffet of covered dishes brought by the participants. I brought a colorful cole slaw of cabbage, carrots and apples with craisins and sliced almonds.

At 1 P.M., we broke up for hikes. I chose to go with Allen De Hart because his hike started from Jeffress Park and didnít require a shuttle. We went west on the MST and passed a cabin and church and then climbed a hill.

Diana Dagenhart, a member of the Watauga County task force said ďI love hiking. I hiked the MST in the Outer Banks. I participated in the trail building because I wanted to be part of something wonderful.Ē

The job's not done until the paperwork is finished.
Well, the 25 miles are not quite finished.

There was no official documentation of these new 25 miles.

How is a hiker supposed to walk them and know where to spot cars? How about intermediate mileage and where does it come back to the Parkway?

John gave me his rough notes which I greatly appreciated while Jim drew a sketch on a white board for the hikes to follow. I photographed this and will use it for planning. Arthur Kelley has posted maps of the MST.

When I hike this section later this fall, Iíll GPS it and post it on my website.

ki0eh
10-08-2010, 15:42
The job's not done until the paperwork is finished.
Well, the 25 miles are not quite finished.

There was no official documentation of these new 25 miles.

How is a hiker supposed to walk them and know where to spot cars? How about intermediate mileage and where does it come back to the Parkway?


That seems surprisingly common to me that the volunteers who build trails and the volunteers who do trail documentation are operating on two different time scales. I've seen trail built for years with no documentation that anyone can find - and conversely, sometimes there are snazzy brochures for trails that haven't been built yet too.

Tennessee Viking
10-08-2010, 21:28
A lot of the effort and time was due to keeping NPS officials and private land owners happy with a trail along the parkway.

Kelley's maps are probably the most up to date. He is keeping up to date with all the relocations. Taba has just published trail guides for both directions. Carolina Mtn Club has a guide for the mountain ssection. Allen deHart has one of the first trail guides for the MST.

10-K
10-08-2010, 21:34
So is this new section in Taba's book?

Tennessee Viking
10-08-2010, 21:51
No...these sections were officially opened on Oct 2nd. Taba hiked the trail 3x from 08 to 09.

Most of the trail in the mountains parallels the parkway. So its not hard to find.