Where will the MST go in Swain and Jackson Counties?

Would you like to have some input on where the Mountains-to-Sea Trail goes in Swain and Jackson Counties? Here’s your chance. Here’s what Kate Dixon, ED of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail wrote.

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Thanks for your interest in the route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Swain and Jackson counties. I am writing to give you an update on the trail in this area and also to ask for your help in assessing potential MST routes.
Specifically, we are looking for people who would be willing to hike some or all of the proposed routes and report back about what you like and do not like about them. If you are not a hiker yourself, please feel free to tell other people who might be interested that we can use their help.
FMST Board Member Don Walton and I will be at the Public Library at 310 Keener Street in Sylva on:
   Wednesday, October 3rd at 5:30 pm
   Thursday, October 4th at 1:00 pm
to tell you about the routes, answer questions, and get your ideas too. You can attend whichever meeting is most convenient for you.  The information we share will be the same at both meetings.
This effort is an outgrowth of the September 13th meeting in Sylva organized by the Southwestern Commission to gather public opinion for a trail plan in Swain and Jackson counties which will address the issue of the route of the MST.

Originally, the trail was proposed to parallel the Blue Ridge Parkway after leaving the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, the parkway owns almost no land in this area where it crosses the Cherokee Reservation, and we were never able to locate a workable route to build trail.
At the meeting, discussion about the MST route was impassioned because so many people care about the trail and because volunteers from the Carolina Mountain Club have spent thousands of hours building new trail on the assumption that the proposed route would work.
People at the meeting were asked to draw potential trail routes on maps, and many interesting routes were proposed – some that we had heard before and some that are new ideas to FMST.
Don Walton and I will be at the public library with maps and the information we have been able to collect about each route. In some cases, our information will be detailed. In others, we will be looking to you for help in figuring out the route.
I hope you will be able to join us at one of the meetings and help us – either by hiking or by spreading the word to your hiker friends.
If you cannot make either meeting but would like to be involved, please e-mail to let me know so that I can work to get you involved at a later date.
We welcome questions or suggestions. Thanks for your love of the MST.

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