Parkway rangers will lead the easy-to-moderate hike at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13 along two miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Participants will learn about the chestnut trees once-critical role in the southern Appalachian Mountains and research efforts to help it regain its throne as king of the forest.
Once numbering in the billions, the towering trees were a vital part of the forest ecology, a key food source for wildlife and an essential component of the human economy. Chestnut blight decimated the species in the mid-1900s. Several attempts to breed a blight-resistant tree have taken place unsuccessfully. Since then, however, recent breakthroughs offer new hope.
Hikers will meet at the Mills River Overlook, near Milepost 404.5 and should bring water, wear good walking shoes and be prepared for inclement weather. More details are available by phone.