The Town of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Mountains-to-Sea Trail Committee welcome all to celebrate the official opening of the Cascades Preserve to Haw River Road section of the MST on May 3 at 3:30. The new section of trail, built by volunteers from the newly formed Western Guilford task force and the the Town of Oak Ridge’s MST Committee, links the beautiful existing trails in Guilford County’s Cascades Preserve near Oak Ridge into the route of MST Segment 8 of the MST.

“We’re just thrilled by the collaboration and the momentum that is happening in Western Guilford County right now,” said Kate Dixon, executive director of the Friends of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail. “The Oak Ridge community is coming together and making great things happen for the MST.”

To join in the celebration on Friday, May 3, meet at the trailhead near the intersection of Haw River Road and River Gate Court at 3:30.  An optional hike along the MST from Haw River Road through the Cascades Preserve to Goodwill Church Road will follow after the ceremony. Parking for the ribbon cutting ceremony will be on River Gate Court. Please be courteous to residents when parking in River Gate by staying on the pavement and not blocking the street or driveways. Carpooling from Oak Ridge Town Hall will be available starting at 3:00 pm.

If you are unable to attend the ribbon cutting on Friday, the celebration continues with a guided hike of the Cascades Preserve on Saturday, May 4th.   Hikers will meet at 9 am at the Cascades parking lot (7359 Goodwill Church Road) to hike the full Cascades loops including the new MST section.

This newly built connection adds several miles of serene off-road hiking to the MST route by linking easements originally acquired by the Town of Oak Ridge into the trail system within the Cascades Preserve, land originally acquired and purchased by Guilford County. The Cascades Preserve is roughly 130 acres of natural landscapes and wildlife habitat and features a pristine hiking system that makes excellent use of the topography and creek views. The trails include challenging transitional hiking, serene natural surroundings and terrain, and incorporates relaxing stops along scenic vistas.  This additional trail laid out by County staff and built by volunteers from the Oak Ridge Mountains-to-Sea Trail Committee and Western Guilford task force,  expands wonderful off-road options, something that we can all celebrate.

(Photo courtesy of Matt Wallace, Guilford County Parks and Recreation)