Beginning Sept. 9, hikers from all over will be able to walk through the North River Wetlands Preserve in eastern Carteret County, managed by the NC Coastal Federation, as part of their journey along the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
The NC Trails Program, which is part of the NC Division of Parks & Recreation, is partnering with the federation to route the trail through the 6,000-acre preserve.
Saturday, Sept. 9 marks MST in a Day, a statewide event to celebrate and hike parts of the trail throughout the state. The federation will hold a ribbon cutting and organize hikes along parts of the 10-mile segment of the trail that runs through the preserve. People can hike or bike.
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, all the way to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The trail is currently around 650 miles, and growing.
The 10-mile segment that routes through the preserve was officially designated as part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail system in May, but it will not be open to the public until the MST in a Day event in September.
“We’re excited that the preserve will connect to the trail beginning this fall. Adding it will expose hikers to even more of the great diversity of the North Carolina coast,” said Sam Bland, coastal specialist for the federation.
The segment that runs through the North River Wetlands Preserve will help hikers navigate an area of the state that is at low elevation.
“One of the reasons I’m excited about running the trail through the preserve is because it gets us through a very difficult part of North Carolina, due to low elevation,” said Scott Crocker, manager of the NC Trails Program. “It’s great to partner with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, which has high ground and lets us route the trail over a part that is difficult to navigate.”
North River Wetlands Preserve is approximately 6,000 acres of farmland that the federation and its multiple partners, members and community volunteers have been working to preserve and restore back to forested, freshwater and tidal wetlands since 1999.
The restored wetlands provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, and over 240 bird species have been recorded at the site. The preserve is great for birding, wildlife spotting, biking and walking. Visitors can often get a glimpse of deer, turtles and snakes. Occasional sightings include bobcats, turkeys, quail, coyotes and river otters.
More information about how to register for this event can be found at nccoast.org/events. The master plan of the trail can be found at ncparks.gov. Contact Sam Bland at 252-393-8185 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.