A trails plan for four counties


I try not to let a lot of North Carolina stuff seep into the pages of The Clinton Chronicle. To do so would not be in keeping with our 2020 Theme - Clinton First.

But I thought this was really interesting - how four counties have come together to promote a trail.

You know, trails are very important for a community's physical and economic health. Bud Marchant as director of the LCTA (Laurens County Trails Association) and his partners are working tirelessly to bring a branch of the wildly popular Swamp Rabbit Trail through Laurens County - its "hub" would be behind the Laurens County Hospital and Prisma Health is signed on as a major sponsor.

The plan got a big boost recently as Mauldin announced it's going to build a $5 million pedestrian bridge over I-385. That would eliminate the major obstacle - how to get Greenville people across the interstate safely.

So, here's a news release that details another way counties can band together. It's out of Raleigh, N.C.

The Division of Parks and Recreation is seeking public input on the Wilderness Gateway State Trail plan. When finalized, it will guide project stakeholders as they refine the planned corridor and build the trail. 

The trail will connect Chimney Rock State Park to locations in Catawba County as well as the Overmountain Victory State Trail, the Town of Valdese, and South Mountain game lands and state park. When complete, the trail will traverse Rutherford, McDowell, Burke and Catawba counties. The plan is being developed by the division with input from officials from the four counties, major towns in the corridor, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and Conserving Carolinas Land Conservancy, among others. It will identify opportunities, challenges, trail section sponsors and stakeholders along the trail corridor (Rutherfordton, Connelly Springs and Newton hosted the meetings).

Members of the public were encouraged to attend and can expect to spend about 20 minutes to review, discuss, and comment on the planned trail corridor. 

The Wilderness Gateway State Trail planning webpage: trails.nc.gov-trails/wilderness-gateway-state-trail

For local trails info: www.lcta.org


North Carolina State Parks manages more than 237,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 18 million visitors annually. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

(Vic MacDonald, editor of The Clinton Chronicle, is a native of Greensboro, N.C., where his step-mom lives. The views expressed here are his and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. MacDonald can be reached at 833-1900 or sports@clintonchronicle.net)


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