MST Mystery Plaque

MSTFolk Art Center - Arch Nichols OK.

So It’s not a mystery plaque. Maybe everyone knew about this plaque. It’s out in the open in a National Park.

On the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’sa plaque honoring Arch Nichols. It turns out that the MST section from Mt. Pisgah to Mt. Mitchell is the Arch Nichols section of the trail.

Nichols was an indefatigable trail maintainer for the Carolina Mountain Club. Here’s what John Dickson, another CMC president, wrote about Arch Nichols.

Arch Nichols died February 1, 1989 at the age of 81. The CMC, the ATC and the hiking community lost a valued friend. He had been a member of the CMC and the ATC since 1939. He was CMC President twice and was a member of the ATC
Board of Managers from 1940 until 1979 and served as the ATC Coordinator for North Carolina for many of those years. He was appointed to two five year terms, 1968, and 1975, to the Secretary of the Interior’s National Scenic Trail Advisory Council.

In 1982 he received the Outstanding Individual Award from the North Carolina Trails Committee. He obtained the naming of Tennent Mountain and the bronze marker on the summit honoring Dr. Tennent. He obtained the bronze markers on the summits of Mt. Craig and Big Tom. He drew up the original proposal that resulted in the Shining Rock Wilderness. He planned and wrote the first proposal for the Art Loeb Trail. He planned and drafted concepts that resulted in the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. He was the major force in the Forest Service acquisition of Max Patch and the
construction of the A.T. over that mountain. Arch often referred to Max Patch as the “Crown Jewel” of the CMC 90 mile section of the A.T.

At the Folk Art Center on May 7, 1989 we honored Arch by dedicating a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Mt. Pisgah to Mt. Mitchell as the Arch Nichols’ Section.

I had never seen the plaque until some of my MST research forced me to go and find it.

Go to the Folk Art Center. Opposite the front of the building on the sidewalk is the plaque.

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