CMC takes position on future route of MST in Smokies

Friday, January 15, 2010

In the latest addition of the Carolina Mountain Club E-newsletter, the hiking club announced it's position on building and maintaining the Mountains-to-Sea Trail through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Here's the statement from the club newsletter:

CMC remains committed to building and maintaining the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) from Heintooga Ridge Road at Wolf Laurel Gap (MP 458.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) to Black Mountain Campground east of Mount Mitchell.

The MST is complete in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Clingmans Dome to Mingus Mill.

Three routes are under discussion for connecting the two pieces of the MST.

1) Across the Qualla Boundary to the Oconaluftee River Trail to Mingus Mill.

2) On Blue Ridge Parkway land to the Oconaluftee River Trail to Mingus Mill.

3) From the current MST on Newton Bald Trail, along a series of existing trails in GSMNP to Polls Gap and on Heintooga Ridge Road.

CMC supports Option 3, using existing trails in GSMNP to complete the MST, as it offers the quickest and easiest way to complete the MST in our area. CMC will not commit to further trail building on the MST, should either Option 1 or Option 2 be chosen.

Below is a map of the route the CMC supports:

The proposed route drops down to the Smokemont Campground from the Newton Bald Trail. From the campground, the trail follows the Bradley Fork Trail, Chasteen Creek, Hughes Ridge, Enloe Creek, Hyatt Ridge, Beech Gap, Balsam Mountain, Mt. Sterling Ridge, Pretty Hollow, down the Cataloochee Road to the Rough Fork Trail and on to Polls Gap.

When fully completed, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will stretch roughly 1000 miles from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge on the NC Outer Banks.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

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