Blazing the Trail (Part 2)

There’s a lot of buzz these days in my hometown of Elkin, NC about hiking, cycling and horseback riding trails. For outdoor advocates like me this is very good news. Last week in Part 1 of, Blazing the Trail I introduced you to my love of nature and a group of people calling themselves the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA). Today I want to give you some details about the trails.

 

The Mountain to Sea Trail  (MST)

  1. A simple footpath stretching almost 1000 miles across North Carolina.
  2. Spanning an area from Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks.
  3. Over 500 miles of this trail is complete.
  4. Climbs both the tallest mountain peak, Mount Mitchell, 6,684 feet, the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in the eastern United States, also climbing the highest sand dune, Jockey Ridge, which is the tallest living natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States rising from 80–100 feet depending on weather conditions.
  5. The MST trail passes through 37 counties, 3 national parks, two national wildlife refuges, includes three ferry rides and three lighthouses.
  6. The trail was proposed in 1977 and added to the state park system in 2000.
  7. It takes approximately 2,112,000 footsteps to complete the trail.
  8. When possible the trail connects to other trails, such as The Elkin & Alleghany Rail Trail and the proposed Stone-to-Pilot Trail.
  9. For more information view the Mountain to Sea Trail’s website: http://www.ncmst.org/

 

Elkin and Alleghany Rail Trail  (E & A Rail Trail)

  1. The Elkin and Alleghany Railroad played a key role in the industrial revolution in Elkin and surrounding counties until the railway was decommissioned in the early 1930s.
  2.  The E & A Rail Trial will start at Crater Park in Elkin, NC and follow the old railroad bed from Downtown Elkin to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the John P. Frank Parkway in Traphill. Signs will be placed along this part of the trail featuring information about the old railroad and other aspects of history. Then the trail will continue on to Stone Mountain State Park.
  3. The E & A Rail Trail will be the longest trail system on privately owned land in northwestern North Carolina. Over 50 landowners have donated easements and almost all others responded positively. Landowner participation is entirely voluntary.
  4. The trail will promote trout fishing, kayaking and canoeing in the Big Elkin Creek. Also hiking, cycling, and horse back riding. The trail is intended to increase quality of life in the Elkin Valley and will provide educational opportunities, preserve our area history, promote health and wellness, provide economic opportunities and promote an appreciation and respect for our environment.
  5. When completed the trail will be over 20 miles long. Some sections of the trail will run parallel, one for horseback riders and the other for cyclists. Hiking will be allowed on both.
  6. The first two miles of the trail, for cycling and hiking starting in Elkin will be complete this summer, 2014.
  7. A 14-mile section for horseback riding will go from near Carter Falls on the Big Elkin Creek to the Stone Mountain State Park boundary. A three-mile portion of this section is near completion over Wells Knob in the Austin Community. A 25-foot long pedestrian bridge is already in place at this location.
  8. An iron pedestrian bridge has been purchased and is scheduled for placement over the Big Elkin Creek on old Elkin & Alleghany trestles about 50 yards upstream from the Shoe Factory Dam in Elkin. The Elkin Valley Trail Association is applying for a grant to build a second bridge over the Big Elkin Creek in 2014-15.

 

 

Stone Mountain to Pilot Mountain (Stone-to-Pilot Mountain Trail)

1.     The Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA) has been chosen to head up the planning for building this section of the NC Mountain to rsz_trail_1rsz_trail_2rsz_trail_3 Sea Trail (MST).

2.     Planning has begun for the next segment of the MST from Stone Mountain State Park to Pilot Mountain State Park.

3.     This section of the Mountain to Sea trail will be approximately 60 miles in length.

 

 

This information is only the tip of the iceberg concerning these trails. These trails do not just happen. It takes a lot of money, thought, time and energy from many, many volunteers. To find out more about what you might do to help build and maintain these trails, and for fundraising events please visit the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA) website at: http://elkinvalleytrails.org/

 

 

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