N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Crescent Trail – a new alternate hiking option
The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (FMST) are pleased to jointly announce the naming of the Coastal Crescent Trail, an additional option for hikers seeking to walk across North Carolina.
The Coastal Crescent Trail, a new hiking option developed by FMST, will serve as an option in eastern North Carolina until the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) is completed along the planned route, which connects Smithfield, Goldsboro, Kinston and New Bern, following the path of the Neuse River. The newly named trail provides a guided way for hikers to explore communities and natural and historic sites in the ecologically unique and scenic lower coastal plain in Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender and Onslow counties.
“We thank our valued partner, the FMST, for their continued commitment to the MST. The Coastal Crescent Trail allows through-hikers to complete their trek across the state,” said Mike Murphy, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. “Without the FMST’s help in creating public awareness and in maintaining the trail, the MST would not be the outstanding attraction that it is.”
In addition to the Coastal Crescent Trail, other alternatives include N.C. Department of Transportation bicycle routes, as well as a paddle trail along the Neuse River through Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir and Craven counties.
FMST will be releasing trail guides for both the Neuse River paddle trail and the Coastal Crescent Trail in 2015. They will be available online at FMST’s website: www.ncmst.org/trailguide.The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, with the support of the FMST, remains committed to helping communities along the planned route of the MST to further develop the trail. The division is also committed to exploring additional community interest in trail development, including trails that connect to the MST, at both regional and local scales across the state. As part of that effort, the division, with input from the FMST, local government agencies, other partners and the public, is in the process of writing its master plan for the MST. As part of the planning process, a meeting will be held with communities along the new Coastal Crescent Trail to assess their interest in the trail. To learn about or provide input into the master planning process, visit www.ncmountainstosea.org.
The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail links Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. A project of the North Carolina State Parks System, there are 608 designated off-road miles of the 1,000+mile route. The trail is envisioned as the backbone of a network of hiking, paddling and multi-use trails which easily connect to local and regional trails and greenways. Eventually, the trail will link 33 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and offer local access to 40 percent of the state’s population.