Conservation groups are making it easier for people to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina.
A new foot 80-foot bridge opens Monday near Boone and allows hikers to avoid wading across Boone Fork Creek in knee-deep water. The bridge will improve access to one of just three backpack camping areas along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.
Federal funds administered by the state parks division and a foundation grant to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation paid for the $250,000 bridge.
The east-west trail across North Carolina runs from Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockeys Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 54 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling more than 31,000 acres.