Over the past year, Friends of the MST has created and begun work on a Priority Action Plan. Many of our priorities revolve around making the trail an inclusive place. While we’ve not heard specifics from any of hikers about feeling excluded when hiking, being excluded or discriminated against is different from being invited. Participation grows with invitation and being included. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Community is stronger when it supports a trail that is inclusive.
One of the first items completed is that the Friends’ Board of Directors approved a Land Acknowledgment and Commitment Statement.
Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail respectfully acknowledges that the trail traverses traditional and ancestral homelands of indigenous peoples whom we honor as the original stewards of the land.
Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail strives to provide equal opportunities to all trail users, and does not tolerate discrimination against any trail user or member of the trail community based on race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation or identity, or status as a special disabled veteran or veteran.
Policies and practices of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will reflect our commitment to promote access, equity and inclusiveness, and to discourage discrimination that denies the essential humanity of all people.
We look forward to sharing updates on all these priorities.
Photo: Cedric Kopa, first Black completer of the MST in 2020, with Howard Lee, who in 1977, as secretary of what is now the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, first proposed the MST. Photo by Jerry Barker.