Missing link of Benton MacKaye trail solved

out mackayeA dicey section of the long-distance Benton MacKaye hiking trail that forced hikers to walk along the side of a narrow highway in Graham County will soon be re-routed off-road as a proper trail should be.

 

The 300-mile trail, named after the visionary behind the famous Appalachian Trail, traveled along the shoulder of U.S. 129 in the Fontana area for a short distance — namely between Deal’s Gap and Twentymile ranger station, where the trail then took off into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The section of road-walking is being replaced by a new route through Fontana Village Resort property.

“This is the culmination of a nine-year effort to find a permanent solution to the hazard presented by a road walk along Route 129,” said Project Leader Dick Evans. The new trail configuration will follow the route of some other existing trails in the area, plus a newly constructed section that should be completed by summer.

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