BMTA Seeking National Scenic Trail Status

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Benton MacKaye Trail Association Seeking National Scenic Trail Status for the BMTA

One of our partner organizations, the Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) announced that they are seeking Congressional approval for the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) to be designated a National Scenic Trail. To date, only 11 long-distance trails have received the prestigious designation. These trails epitomize the splendor, diversity and historical significance found in the wide array of the American landscape.

Swinging Bridge – Richard Parks photo

With its glorious ridgeline views and the innumerable crossings of mountain streams, the almost 300- mile-long BMT comes by its reputation for beauty honestly. Nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the BMT has some of the most varied and abundant wildflowers of any temperate climate forest in the world – and β€” the variety of tree species is second to none. Whether it’s the creek-side trilliums in the spring, the reddish orange of the fall sugar maples at the higher elevations or the unmatched 360-degree views in the winter, the BMT is a visual treat any time of the year — it truly is an awesome hike!

The BMT traverses 82 miles in Georgia and 206 miles in Tennessee/North Carolina. This includes the Chattahoochee-Oconee, Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests as well as 93 miles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it the longest trail in the Smokies. Also known for its remoteness, a third of the trail lies in Wilderness areas where vehicular access and motorized tools are prohibited. Here, the hiker finds true peace and solitude.

Fall Branch Falls, the Swinging Bridge, Owen Vista and Long Creek Falls are just a few of the popular hiking destinations on the BMT in the North Georgia Mountains. Backpackers love the loop hikes in the Cohuttas and on Big Frog.To learn more about the Benton MacKaye Trail Association and/or volunteering, go to the BMTA website, bmta.org or contact BMTA Vice President Joy Forehand, jwfbrga@gmail.com.

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