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By Joy Warren

North Carolina Mountain to the Sea MapNorth Carolina’s new Coastal Crescent Trail, a 39-mile segment of the Mountains to Sea Trail was officially opened Tuesday, April 7th during a Ribbon Cutting Dinner and Ceremony at White Lake Town Hall.  The invited guests enjoyed dinner provided by the Town on White Lake.  Kip Godwin, a Board Member of the Friends of the Mountain to Sea Trail thanked all in attendance and recognized local, county, and state officials.  Mayor Goldston Womble welcomed all to the celebration.  Kate Dixon, the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail Executive Director, stated “The Carolina Bay Country Segment of the trail will allow hikers to explore one of the most diverse and intriguing ecological areas in the nation as well as Harmony Hall, a Revolutionary War site, and the resort community of White Lake.”

The route navigates public lands that protect many ‘Carolina Bays” which provide habitat for many rare and endangered species.  Of course, the legends, myths and theories of the elliptical depressions add to the lure of the area.  Some of the more famous bays along the route include Jones, White, and Singletary.Mountains to the Sea Smithfield map

Hikers will also be immersed in local history by learning about the naval stores industry which tapped long leaf pine for tar and turpentine through the Civil War times.  In addition to White Lake, other highlights of the segment include Harmony Hall Plantation in White Oak, Suggs Mill Pond Game Land, Bladen Lakes State Forest, Jones Lake State Park, Turnbull Educational State Forest and Singletary Lake State Park.   

A Duke Energy Foundation grant of $75,000 made this trail opening celebration possible. “Eastern North Carolina is home to rich history, culture and an unmatched beauty,” said Jennifer Pittman with Duke Energy.   “It’s organizations like Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail who help preserve this legacy, and Duke Energy is pleased to support their positive impact.”​  ​

For more information about the trail and FMST, visit www.ncmst.org.

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