No one has been connected to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail longer than Jim Hallsey. It was his plan for the MST in 1978 that was adopted by the State Trails Committee.  He has been a board member of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (FMST) and currently  is a volunteer leader of the FMST’s South Ashe County Task Force that builds and maintains sections of the trail.  He has persevered through bureaucratic roadblocks, funding deficiencies and even snowstorms to help create and build the trail.  In recent years much of that work has been by hand.  Some of his memories and observations:

  •  “I was personally interested in trails and had been building them since about the age of seven. For me planning the MST was not only a professional duty,  but more like a calling and a dream come true. “
  •  “The potential for a truly comprehensive statewide system of recreational trails will be limited only by a lack of vision and political will to dare to do the difficult, to attempt the impossible, and to build onNorth Carolina’s outstanding legacy of pathways for and among her people.”
  •  “Without a doubt the greatest blessing of my trek has been the support of family, friends, strangers I have met along the way and especially the young families raising a whole new generation of outdoor loving children. A close second has been the amazing natural resources and scenic splendor of North Carolina that have been linked by the Mountains-to-Sea trail. “
  •  “I  believe that eventually there will be a hiking trail from Clingmans Dome to Jockeys Ridge.  Perhaps most of the remaining sections will be multiple use regional greenways.  The missing links in thePiedmontand coastal plain won’t be easy, but they are not impossible either.”
  •  “The original planning corridor was and is the best fit for the MST. What’s encouraging is the interest for regional trails and linkages in other areas of the state.  Many, like the Carolina Thread Trail in the Charlotte metro area, were also envisioned in that original state trail system network plan.”
  •   “Bob Buckner was instrumental in developing the language and working with legislators for passage of the Natural and Scenic Rivers System Act and North Carolina Trails System Act.  With the help of many, together we devised the state’s first Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. “
  •  “In the 1970’s a couple of western North Carolina legislators said they would vehemently oppose any effort for a trans-state trail like the Appalachian Trail.  Other than that I knew of no opposition.”