The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the State Trails Program recognized the City of Burlington for joining onboard with surrounding governmental agencies in a Resolution of Support for the Eastern Piedmont Trails Plan For North Carolina’s Mountains-To-Sea Trail. The City was recognized at a press conference Friday, July 14th in the Graham Town Hall. After a long effort, NCDENR celebrated the Haw River Trail Governmental Agency Partnership’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. “The remarkable achievement opens the door for great opportunities for trail partnerships and collaborative planning”, stated William G. Ross Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental And Natural Resources. “We recognize the value of the Haw River Corridor and want the congratulate you for your foresight and commitment to the conservation and thoughtful recreational development of such a valuable resource”, stated Ross.
A resolution of support will be presented to the City Council in congratulations for the steps taken by the staff in coordinating efforts with the NCDENR and the Division of Parks and Recreation’s State Trails Program and the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments to develop a comprehensive plan for trails and greenways for the Central Piedmont Region, including the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
The Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) of North Carolina is a 900+ mile trail consisting of footpaths, roads, and state bike routes. This trail started in 1973 when the North Carolina General Assembly passed the North Carolina Trails System Act. FMST's efforts are underway so that one day a complete foot trail will reach across the state, from the Mountains to the Sea.
From Tennessee State Line To Atlantic Ocean
North Carolina's Mountains To Sea Trail (MST) stretches from Clingman's Dome in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park by the Atlantic Ocean. The mainline distance is 908 miles and if an alternate section is followed it is 925 miles. With Ferry Rides, spur trails to scenic overlooks, and side trails to campsites, the adventurous journey is nearly 1000 miles. Its western terminus at Clingman's Dome is 6643 feet in elevation. Its eastern terminus, after reaching sea level, is in Jockey's Ridge State Park's on the highest sand dune (140 feet elevation) of the nation's East Coast.
The MST Passes through 37 counties. In the mountain region are Swain, Jackson, Haywood, Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe, Yancey, McDowell, Burke, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, and Wilkes. In the Central region are Surry, Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance, Orange, Durham, Wake, Franklin, and Nash. Coastal and island counties include Wilson, Johnston, Wayne, Greene, Lenoir, Jones, Craven, Pamlico, Cartaret, Hyde, and Dare.
Along the way some of the small towns are: Oteen, Blowing Rock, Thurmond, Dobson, Ararat, Pilot Mountain, Danbury, Walnut Cove, Stokesville, Summerfield, Ossipee, Altaahaw, Butner, Wake Forest, Youngsille, Black Creek, Eureka, La Grange, Dover, Reelsboro, Araphoe, Minnesott, Bettie, Otaway, Williston, Davis, Stacy, Cedar Island, Ocracoke, Hatteras, Buxton, Avon, Salvo, Waves, Rodanthe, and Whalebone. Larger towns or cities near the trail are: Cherokee, Waynesville, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilson, Goldsboro (this city has 8.7 miles of the MST), Kinston, Havelock, and Nags Head. New Bern is the only city through which the trail completely passes.
Parks, Forests, Refuges
The MST passes through three national parks: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. National Forrests include Nantahala (the farthest west), Pisgah, and Croatan (the most eastern). Among the state parks, the MST passes through Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet in elevation and highest east of the Mississippi River), Stone Mountian, near Pilot Mountain, Hanging rock, Falls Lake, Waynesborough, near Cliffs of Neuse, and Jockey's Ridge. The MST passes through two National Wildlife refuges: Cedar Island and Pea Island. There are two Wilderness Areas: Middle Prong and Linville Gorge, both in Pisgah National Forest.
Rivers, Swamps, Islands
Of the major rivers, North Fork of the Catawba and Linville Gorge must be waded. The other rivers, all with bridges, are Davidson, French Broad, Fisher, Haw, East fork of Eno, South Fork of Little, Flat, Neuse (five crossings) and North. The longest bridge (2.5 miles) is over Oregon Inlet. Although the trail passes through a number of swamps, the major ones are in Croatan National Forest (on board walks), and Cedar Island National Wildlfe Refuge (on an elevated highway). The major islands are Cedar, Ocrakoke, and Hateras. The MST is mainly on the beaches of the latter two.
In addition to Clingman's Dome and Mount Mitchell, other high or scenic mountain peaks over which or near the MST passes (west to east) are: Barnett Knob (4,665); Waterrock (6,292); Rough Butt Bald (5,925 ft); Devil's Courthouse (5,723 ft); Black Balsam Knob (6,214); Pilot Mountain (5,040 ft, in Pisgah National Forest); Clawhammer Mountain (4140 ft); Little Bald Mountain (5,285 ft); Locust Knob (5,480 ft); Walker Knob (5,482 ft); Blackstock Knob (6,325); Woods Mountain (3,684); Bald Knob (3,495); The Pinnacles (2,818 ft); Short-Off Mountain (3,006 ft); Table Rock (3,909 ft); Beacon Hights (4,208); The Lumb (3,520 ft); Bluff Mountain )3,796 ft); Scott Ridge (3,762 ft); Stone Mountain (2,305 ft); and More's Knob (2,579 ft).
Waterfalls, Lakes, Bays
Because the MST follows numerous ridge lines, particularly parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it misses many of the low altitudes for waterfalls. However, the MST does pass the following waterfall areas: Steels Creek Falls, Harper Creek and North Harper Creek Falls, all in the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest, northwest of Morganton. Widow's Creek and Big Sandy Creekhave waterfalls in Stone Mountain State park, northwest of Elkin, and Hanging Rock State park northwest of Danbury.
Although there are hundreds of small farm lakes along the MST route, the large ones are Belews Lake, east of Walnut Cove, Lake Brandt and Townsend Lake, north of Greensboro, and Falls Lake, north of Raleigh. Bays are Jarrett, Nelson, Thoroughfare, and Cedar Island, all in coastal areas from North River to Cedar Island.
For information on how you can become involved in the trail development of Burlington, please contact the Burlington Recreation & Parks Department at 336.222.-5030.