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September 2, 2022 6 minute READ

Friends Day is September 10, 2022

tags Inspiration | Local Flavor | Mast Family Favorites
locations All

Friends Day recognizes organizations that work in each of our hometowns to activate volunteers around beautiful community assets, which contribute to residents’ quality of life and the economic viability of the region. On September 10, each Mast Store location will donate 10% of the day’s sales to benefit the efforts of its local partner. Guests may also round up their purchases to provide additional support September 9-11.

“We are proud to highlight the good work each of our partners do in our local communities,” shared Lisa Cooper, Mast Store president. “We’ve celebrated and supported their efforts since 2008 because they are an important part of what makes our hometowns special to those who live there, as well as being warm and welcoming to visitors.”

Blue Ridge Parkway FoundationThe Original Store, Annex, Boone, and Rivercross Made in USA, Mast Store’s sister store in Valle Crucis, will be supporting the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. This organization is the official fund-raising partner for the Parkway with initiatives that positively impact the visitor experience, improve the health of children through TRACK Trails, and protect the cultural history of the region. Two of their largest projects in the local High Country area include the restoration of the Flat Top Manor House at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and the re-opening of the Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park.

Friends of the SmokiesWaynesville and Knoxville will share the message of the Friends of the Smokies. This group is active with volunteers and fundraising that helps ensure the safekeeping of the most visited park in the National Park Service system. Their purview is historic preservation, wildlife management, environmental education, and providing funds for needs that help rangers with their everyday work. This year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrated the re-opening of Parson Branch Road. This road was originally established in 1838 by Russell Gregory and was the primary access to Cades Cove. It was closed in 2016 for safety reasons.

Pisgah ConservancyAsheville and Hendersonville are again hosting the Pisgah Conservancy. This small organization with a big calling cares for 162,000 acres of the Pisgah National Forest. Activities in the forest include fishing, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and even telescope observing at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. The Pisgah Conservancy helps fill in the gaps left by federal funding to maintain trails and other facilities. The curious and iconic Graveyard Fields area in the Pisgah National Forest is an ongoing project of the Pisgah Conservancy. In partnership with the Forest Service and other groups, the Pisgah Conservancy is working to repair years of use and abuse that is deteriorating not only trails but also important habitat for flora and fauna.

Friends of the Reedy RiverGreenville welcomes back the Friends of the Reedy River. This long-running partnership is a grassroots movement at its best. Friends of the Reedy River is primarily a volunteer organization that is revitalizing one of Greenville’s most significant natural resources. It can be said that the Reedy River was the engine behind a growing city during the Industrial Revolution, and now that engine is being revved up again through restoration and rejuvenation activities along the river’s length. These activities, like the establishment of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and completion of the beautiful Falls Park, are bringing new businesses and new people to enjoy its beauty.

Gateway Nature PreserveWinston-Salem continues to embrace its new local partner, the Gateway Nature Preserve. Located near the heart of Downtown Winston-Salem and next to Washington Park, the Gateway Nature Preserve is in the process of reclaiming land used in the industrial process and creating a special place that brings nature and people together. A master plan for the area was created in 2017 and includes trails and natural playscapes along with educational programs to further connect people with nature. The Preserve was recently accepted as Forsyth County’s first ecoEXPLORE hotspot. It is a collaborative initiative of the NC Arboretum that encourages children to learn about the environment and become citizen scientists.

Palmetto Conservation FoundationColumbia is conveniently located within one of the many passages that make up the Palmetto Trail, the primary project of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. The Palmetto Trail links the mountains of the Upstate to the sandy shores of the Lowcountry called Passages. These trails make the natural environment accessible while conserving it and help communities grow by sharing stories and history along the way.  Almost 400 miles of the 500-mile-long trail have been completed. Anne Springs Close, a founding director of Palmetto Conservation, said that the Palmetto Trail is intended to bring people together – young and old, rich and poor. It is not only for hardcore backpackers but is for families who want to get out in the woods.

Friends of the Blue RidgeRoanoke is keeping the Friends Day tradition by welcoming back the Friends of the Blue Ridge. Organized in 1988 to assist with projects along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Friends now lend a hand with opportunities throughout the Blue Ridge region. The contributions resulting from this event in Roanoke will underwrite the installation of nature-themed playground equipment at the city’s Explore Park and will also help with community playgrounds in Waynesboro and Hillsville.

While monetary donations help immensely, there are other ways to assist the organizations participating in Friends Day. “One of the core values of each of our partners is everyone can help,” said Ryan Robinson, community relations manager. “While funding is a critical component of every project, an even more important piece is the human element. Bringing volunteers of all kinds together to accomplish a common goal ultimately builds community and understanding and results in a unified feeling of accomplishment – something we all did together.”

Mast Store invites you to visit your favorite store to find needed gear to enjoy the coming fall weather and to learn more about valuable partners in your community on September 10. Friends Day partners’ websites also provide ample information on more opportunities to help.

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