A 40th anniversary celebration for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail will kick off March 24-26 at a Friends of MST annual meeting in Elkin.
On Sept. 9, 1977, Howard Lee, then secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, proposed a “state trail from the mountains to the coast.” The annual meeting, called the Gathering of Friends, will be the first in a series of events this year to commemorate Lee’s speech and recognize the progress made on creating the trail.
On March 24, there will be a Hiking Boot Gala for members and a review of milestones in development of the trail.
The March 25 annual meeting will focus on long-range planning and recognize those who have thru-hiked the 1,175-mile trail this year and in the past and outstanding volunteers. Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will be the keynote speaker. During the summer, she will hike the entire trail, stopping in communities along the way for group hikes and events.
The gala and annual meeting will be in Coley Hall at the Liberty, a restored tobacco warehouse and event space on Elkin’s Main Street.
Throughout the March 24-26 weekend, the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA) has organized Trail & Town Excursions, including seven guided hikes, Moonshine and Still search, REI mountain bike clinics, and winery tours. The area also has a variety of self-guided cycling and paddling trails.
To register for Gathering of Friends events and learn more about Friends, go to mountainstoseatrail.org.
Friends of MST is a non-profit organization whose members and volunteers build and maintain the trail that goes from the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. EVTA builds and promotes a network of trails in Elkin Valley. Farm to Feet, a Mount Airy manufacturer of sports socks made from 100-percent American products, is title sponsor for the Gathering of Friends.