THE DIRT is a weekly look at some of the most pressing outdoor news issues from around the Blue Ridge and Beyond.

26-Mile Loop Trail Nears Completion

The proposed Fonta Flora loop trail in North Carolina’s Burke County is one step closer to completion after a bill supporting the project was ratified in the N.C. Senate. According to a report in the Morganton News Herald “the bill says the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources would support and encourage establishing trail segments on state park lands and on lands of other federal, state, local, and private landowners.” When finished the trail will wrap around Lake James, starting at Harris Whisnant Road and ending at the Bridgewater trailhead.

Multiple Shark Attacks on North Carolina Coast

Two North Carolina teens suffered severe injuries including loss of limbs after being attacked by sharks while swimming on the same North Carolina beach. The attacks occurred on Oak Island, a beach on the state’s southernmost coast. Though shark attacks are extremely rare in North Carolina, the recent incidents took place only ninety minutes apart. The beach was subsequently shut down and evacuated. Read more here.

Ultra Runner Scott Jurek Reaches Halfway Point of Appalachian Trail

Scott Jurek, who embarked on a quest to set the Appalachian Trail speed record back late May, has now  passed the halfway point of the 3,000 plus mile foot path. According to Jurek’s Facebook page, he also completed the ‘The Four State Challenge’, traveling through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania all in one day. Juke’s recent success comes on the heels of a torn quadricep sustained in the Smoky Mountains. Follow his journey here.