Happy 46th Birthday, MST

In September 1977 then Secretary of the NC Department of Natural Resources and Community Development Howard Lee proposed “establishing a state trail between the mountains and the seashore in North Carolina.”

The Mountains to Sea Trail was born.

Stretching 1,175 miles from Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smokey Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks, the Mountains to Sea Trail traverses ancient mountains, small farms, and the coasts.

The trail travels the entirety of Pender County. Hikers experience a Revolutionary War battlefield, a historic Black school, blueberry fields, a pristine land of Venus fly traps and pitcher plants, savannahs and pocosin, and beaches.

Speed hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis called the Pender County stretch of the MST her favorite due to the diversity of blueberry farms, the battlefield, and the beaches.

This September, the Mountains to Sea Trail will celebrate its 46th birthday with hikes, trail-building events, and fundraising events.

In Pender County, advocates of the Mountains to Sea Trail have much more to celebrate. Property adjacent to Holly Shelter Game Land was purchased for conservation through the Nature Conservancy and partners to extend the trail through wetlands and long-leaf pine savannahs. The acquisition of the property will allow trail builders to construct trails that will serve to take hikers off US Hwy 17, a dangerous stretch from Hampstead to Surf City. 

The board of directors of Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail authorized the hiring of a design contractor for the new trail. In the future, Pender County residents can expect public meetings and a review of a proposed trail through a beautiful tract of land. The funding is made possible through grants and funding from state parks and NC legislation supporting trails.

The Mountains to Sea Trail requires a vast array of volunteers from trail builders to trail angels. The Friends group asks that supporters of the trail donate $46 in honor of the 46th birthday. Simply go online to mountainstoseatrail.org for more information regarding donations or volunteer opportunities.

“Pender County Tourism is pleased to have our office located on the Mountains to Sea Trail,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism director and a board of director member of the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail. “We have answered countless questions from hikers, provided water, and have even picked up a few with blisters. We see thru-hikers and we see hikers who walk a segment or a portion of a segment at a time. The MST is another attraction for visitors and we’re happy to be a part of this magnificent journey for so many.”