REI Grant Funding Will Expand Thread Trail in Fort Mill

Trail users along Piedmont Medical Center Trail at Riverwalk in Fort Mill, SC
Trail users along Piedmont Medical Center Trail at Riverwalk in Fort Mill, SC

Trail users along Piedmont Medical Center Trail at Riverwalk in Fort Mill, SC

Carolina Thread Trail receives $15,000
grant to fund new riverside trail

 

Charlotte, N.C. – Fort Mill, S.C., residents will soon be able to enjoy a new 1.3-mile trail along the Catawba River thanks to grant funding awarded to the Carolina Thread Trail. A $15,000 grant from REI will be used to build the natural surface trail, which will connect to Piedmont Medical Center Trail at Riverwalk, a 2.3-mile paved Thread Trail located across the Catawba River in Rock Hill, S.C.

The Thread Trail will hire a contractor to build the trail and will oversee construction. The land and conservation easement for the new trail is being secured through Catawba Lands Conservancy and Nation Ford Land Trust.

“REI continues to be an amazing partner for the Carolina Thread Trail and this grant enables us to preserve nature and offer more outdoor recreational opportunities in an area that is developing quickly,” said Tom Okel, executive director of the Carolina Thread Trail.

“Building upon the success of the Riverwalk Trail, which sees about 10,000 users a month, this project will allow runners, walkers and bikers to enjoy a longer distance path for exercise and outdoor exploration,” said Okel.

The trail project is a part of the Thread Trail’s “North-South Spine,” a critical 120-mile planned trail corridor that will stretch from Statesville, N.C., to Great Falls, S.C. The creation of a signature, long-distance trail for the region is one the Thread Trail’s top priorities. With 37 miles of this corridor complete, the Thread Trail continues to work with communities to complete remaining segments.

There are currently three segments of Thread Trail open in Fort Mill: Baxter Village Trail, Blue Star Trail at Anne Springs Close Greenway and Nation Ford Greenway. To learn more about these and other Carolina Thread Trails, visit www.carolinathreadtrailmap.org.

In 2014, REI awarded the Thread Trail a $15,000 grant to build a trail and kayak and canoe launch along the Rocky River in Midland, N.C. The launch is part of a planned 60-mile blueway, or paddle trail that will stretch across 4 counties in North Carolina.

In additon, REI will partner with the Thread Trail in support of National Public Lands Day Volunteer Trail Workday at Buffalo Creek Preserve in Mount Pleasant, NC on Sept. 26. For more information, click here.

 

About The Carolina Thread Trail
The Carolina Thread Trail (The Thread) is a 15-county, two-state initiative designed to create a regional network of trails, blueways and conservation corridors that would link more than 2.3 million citizens. With technical resources and catalytic funding from The Thread, local communities plan and implement their portions of this greenway system. The Carolina Thread Trail region includes Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties within North Carolina and Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. Catawba Lands Conservancy is the lead agency for The Thread, which is working in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas and many local partners. Currently, 220 miles of The Thread are open to the public. For more information, visit carolinathreadtrail.org.

About REI
REI is a national outdoor specialty retailer and the nation’s largest consumer co-op with 5.5 million active members. In addition to its own line of high-quality award-winning gear and apparel, REI offers products from the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $20 membership fee, receive voting privileges to elect REI’s board of directors and share in the co-op’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases.

Headquartered outside Seattle in Kent, Wash., REI is recognized as a leading multi-channel retailer with 140 stores in 33 states; telephone and mail-order operations; two online stores – REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com – and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures.

REI partners with local nonprofit organizations to preserve and maintain trails, waterways and parks where community members enjoy the outdoors. Partnerships include event promotion, gear donations and financial contributions. This year REI will invest $5.9 million in local communities to help care for outdoor spaces

 

Rowan County Joins Carolina Thread Trail, Final County to Adopt Trail Master Plan

Granite Lake Park Trail

County Commissioners Vote 3-2 in Favor
of Joining Regional Trail Network

Granite Lake Park Trail

Granite Lake Park Trail, Town of Granite Quarry

Salisbury, N.C. – The Rowan County Board of Commissioners voted today to officially join the Carolina Thread Trail, making Rowan County the 15th and final county to formally adopt the Thread Trail master plan for its community.

All 10 municipalities in Rowan County, as well as Gold Hill, have already formally adopted the 108-mile trail master plan. The adoption of the plan by the Board of Commissioners was the final step in solidifying the Carolina Thread Trail’s future in Rowan County.

“This is a huge milestone for the Carolina Thread Trail,” said Executive Director Tom Okel. “Now all 15 counties in North and South Carolina that were conceived as part of the Thread Trail network have declared their intentions to join this regional trail initiative.”

Support for the Thread Trail in Rowan County has also been bolstered by a generous gift earmarked for that county by Carolina Thread Trail board member Ed Weisiger, Jr., the president and CEO of Carolina CAT.

The planning process for Rowan County began in 2013, when the Town of Landis, on behalf of all Rowan County communities, received a grant from the Thread Trail to develop a countywide greenway master plan identifying Thread Trail corridors.

In the same year, a steering committee of local staff and citizens was formed to lead and supervise the planning effort. The outcome of the planning process was a greenway master plan that outlines a means for long-term coordination of greenway and trail development to help promote the preservation and improvement of residents’ quality of life. The master plan calls for trails to connect destinations such as historic downtown Salisbury, Dan Nicholas Park and the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The Rowan County Health Department recently issued a report citing the Carolina Thread Trail as a way to improve the health of its residents, who suffer from greater death rates than the state average among all of the top 10 leading causes, including cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, pneumonia and flu, kidney diseases and whole-body infections.

By publicly adopting the Thread Trail master plan, Rowan County is now eligible to receive grants from the Thread Trail. The competitive grants are awarded quarterly to communities and nonprofit organizations to assist with trail corridor planning, land acquisition, construction and trail amenities. To date, the Thread Trail has awarded more than $4.5 million to communities through the region.

The final trail routes of the Carolina Thread Trail through the Rowan County communities consists of 107.8 miles of trails located along stream/river corridors, road right-of-ways, abandoned rail lines, utility easements, undeveloped land, and bike routes. Almost half of the recommended trails are located along existing road right-of-ways (51.3 miles), while the next highest trail type is along stream/river corridors (19.0 miles), mostly along Grant’s Creek. A total of 69.7 miles of blueways have also been identified along the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers and their tributaries.

Rowan County Thread Trail segments will be built over time as local communities plan and fund their trails and work with neighbors to target points of connection. The master plan integrates existing trails, such as Salisbury Greenway and Gold Hill Rail Trail, with additional greenway or trail segments that will together create a comprehensive multi-use network for connecting people, places and destinations to each other and surrounding counties. The trail routes depicted in the plan illustrate connections between destinations, but not precise routes, as exact routes will be determined over time based on an ongoing dialogue with the community and interested landowners.

Rowan County CTT Master Plan

 

About The Carolina Thread Trail

The Carolina Thread Trail is a 15-county, two-state initiative designed to create a regional network of trails, blueways and conservation corridors that would link more than 2.3 million citizens. With technical resources and catalytic funding from the Thread Trail, local communities plan and implement their portions of this greenway system. The Carolina Thread Trail region includes Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties within North Carolina and Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. Catawba Lands Conservancy is the lead agency for the Thread Trail, which is working in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas and many local partners. Currently, 220 miles of Thread Trail are open to the public. For more information, visit carolinathreadtrail.org.

Catawba Corps and Trailheads Paddle June 13

Rocky River Blueway
Saturday, June 13 | 9-11:30 a.m.
9111 Mount Pleasant Road South
Midland, N.C.

Members of Catawba Corps and Trailheads at the Trailblazer level are invited to a 4.5-mile guided paddle along the Rocky River Blueway. The paddle will start at CLC’s Pharr Family Preserve and end 4.5 miles downriver at Riverbend Farm.

Space is limited; advance registration required.

Become a member of Catawba Corps or Trailheads today and join us for this members-only excursion!

Rocky River Blueway

Rocky-River-volunteers_010-(2)On this stretch of the Rocky River Blueway, experience a Piedmont floodplain forest habitat. Over 50 species of birds call this area home including some imperiled species.

Paddlers may also hear the calls of the Cope’s gray tree frogs, cricket frogs, spring peepers and upland chorus frogs or see over 10 species of butterflies like the Carolina satyr. The shoreline is trimmed with numerous floodplain trees, including bitternut hickory, cottonwood, swamp chestnut oak and black walnut.

Photo: Rocky River Blueway in Midland, N.C. Photo by Nancy Pierce

 

Sorry, this event is closed. We hope you can join us for our next outing!

Trail Opening: Catawba Nation Greenway Trail

IMG_5283

Saturday, September 27 | 12 p.m.
Catawba Cultural Center
1536 Tom Steven Road
Rock Hill, SC 29730

IMG_5283Join us for the grand opening of a new segment of Thread Trail at the Catawba Indian Nation. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks, join us for a guided nature walk along the new Catawba Nation Greenway Trail, a 2.2-mile out and back natural surface trail that follows the Catawba River.

While you’re here, explore the history and culture of the Catawbas with a visit to the Catawba Cultural Center. From the nearby Cultural Center Trail, visitors can view a Catawba dwelling, a bark house, dugout trees, story circle and an active archeological dig. 

A volunteer work day at 9 a.m. precedes the opening festivities with REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) presenting a $15,000 grant check to support our volunteer efforts and development of river access points in 2014/2015. Learn more about volunteering.

R.Y. McAden Canoe and Kayak Launch Now Open

Spencer Mountain River Access Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting
Spencer Mountain River Access Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Photo by Nancy Pierce

R.Y. McAden Canoe and Kayak Launch
119 Willow Drive
McAdenville, NC 28101

The newly constructed R.Y. McAden Canoe and Kayak  Launch along the South Fork Catawba River officially opened to the public on Friday, July 11. The launch is one of five access points for paddle recreation on the South Fork Catawba River in Gaston County. The 8.4-mile South Fork River Blueway starts at Spencer Mountain and continues downriver to the Town of Cramerton.

The river is home to a variety of wildlife, including great blue herons, osprey, bald eagles and deer. Paddlers along this stretch of the South Fork will experience some of the most ecologically diverse lands in the region. Learn more.

Funding for the launch was generously provided by the W. Duke Kimbrell Family Foundation, Pamela K. Warlick Fund, McAdenville Women’s Club and Community Foundation of Gaston County. The land for the access area was made available by Pharr Yarns, LLC.

New Group Connects Women to The Thread!

greenway gals 2

greenway gals 0Do you want to be a part of a wonderful community project that’s connecting people to people, neighborhood to neighborhood and North Carolina to South Carolina while helping to make our region a leader in conservation and outdoor recreation? If so, the Greenways Gals are looking for you!

The Greenway Gals is a group of women who will get together to hike and kayak several times a year along the Carolina Tgreenway gals 1hread Trail (The Thread)! It will be a fun way to experience the outdoors as well as support the mission of The Thread – an extremely exciting project that is going to improve our community and region with a permanent system of trails, greenways and blueways that will link 15 counties and 2 states!

The membership fee is $250 per person. Greenway Gals believe in investing in The Thread to keep our greenway gals 2region healthy by encouraging physical activity and exploring nature through walking, hiking and kayaking. Click the donate button below to become a Greenway Gals member!




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Carolina Stories Thread Trail Video


Here’s our wonderful video that’s part of the Carolina Stories video series produced by the Charlotte in 2012 DNC Host Committee to showcase the great things happening in our region. This video about The Thread is part of a collaboration that highlights the unique and inspiring stories, initiatives, projects and organizations from across our community.

What Economic Impact Do Trails Have In Our Communities?

A number of economic impact studies based on data and reasonable forecasting techniques indicate that connected bicycle/pedestrian facilities (like trails and greenways) offer a significant return on investment through property value increases, tourism, business investment, alternative transportation benefits and health benefits.

A 2011 cost/benefit study by Alta Planning and Design evaluated the completion of a multipurpose trail linking the City of Davidson and Cabarrus County (from the Cabarrus County line to downtown Charlotte). The study resulted in an internal return on investment of 16.21%, not including the quantification of recreational benefits. A 2007 study by Econsult, Inc. and Greenways, Inc. forecasting the economic benefit of the Carolina Thread Trail indicated that
increased tourism from a completed regional network would generate an estimated $3-$6 million in incremental state and local tax revenue per year.

Multiple studies indicate that property values for homes and businesses near trails are greater – with increases ranging from between 4% and 20%  – when compared to properties not along trails. This is not surprising in light of the outcome of a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors that cited walking and biking trails as the #1 amenity desired by homebuyers.

While these studies are compelling, sometimes the most convincing evidence of the economic impact of an infrastructure investment can be accessed from talking to representatives from businesses that are directly
benefitting.

Furman University recently released an in-depth study of the health and economic impacts of the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail.  The study provides a baseline for the impact of the 17.5 mile multi-use trail connecting Greenville to Travelers Rest, SC.  For a segment of the study, interviews were conducted with nine managers or owners of retail businesses abutting or within 250 yards of the trail. Data from that study includes the following:

  • Most of the businesses reported increases in sales/revenue ranging from 30% to as high as 85% since the trail was completed.
  • One business decided to open as a result of the trail being built.
  • One business reported changing locations to a site on the trail and observed a 30% increase in sales.
  • One business reported that 75% of Saturday business and 40% of business during the week related to trail use.

These findings, when combined with general observations about how economic activity has been enhanced along stretches of the Carolina Thread Trail– like the Metropolitan stretch of Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte and the Piedmont Medical Center Trail in Rock Hill – are indications of how a connected regional trail network would generate large near-term economic returns.  The case becomes even more compelling when hospitals, business centers, schools, retail and residential hubs are connected via multi use trails.

Along The Thread, we see and hear the momentum and excitement from local governments and community residents about trails opening in their neighborhoods and communities. We know all trails will help our communities be better places to live and work, while creating new economic activity for our communities for years to come.

2015 Trail Masters Course

Trail Masters Logo


INTERESTED IN BECOMING A
TRAIL MASTER?

 

Applications are now being accepted for our 2015 Trail Masters course. You now have a choice to apply as a volunteer to attend the course for free or pay the certification fee as an industry professional (government employee) a who will work on Thread Trail segments but not required to fulfill the volunteer commitment. A limited number of  applicants will be invited to participate in the trail building and maintenance certification course. The course will be held September 15-18, 2015, at Town Hall an on the Buffalo Creek Preserve Trail in Mount Pleasant, N.C. The application deadline is August 3, 2015.

Trail Masters Eligibility Requirements:

Live in the 15 county Carolina Thread Trail footprint.

Attend a four-day trail building school from September 15-18, 2015: 9am-5pm each day.

Volunteers commit to 40 hours of volunteer leadership annually for the next three years.

Be 18 years of age or older.

Attend the volunteer workday on September 26, 2015 at TBD Thread Trail.

2015 Trail Masters Course Online Application

Hard copy of the 2015 Trail Master Application

The course, which is led by Trail Design Specialists Owner Mike Riter, will teach volunteers the latest sustainable trail building and maintenance techniques through classroom and on-trail instruction and demonstrations. Trail Masters will be certified to serve as volunteer leaders for the Thread Trail, leading volunteer workdays over the three years and committing to 40 hours of volunteer service per year including five of the nine regularly scheduled community workdays in 2016. There will also be additional private workdays that Trail Masters can participate in.

Thread Trail Footprint

NC – Iredell, Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly, Anson, Union, Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Catawba.

SC – Lancaster, Chester, York, Cherokee

2016 Community Volunteer Trail Workdays

Saturday, January 9

Saturday, February 6

Saturday, March 12

Friday, April 8

Saturday, May 14

Friday, August 5

Saturday, September 24

Saturday, October 22

Saturday, November 5

MORE:
Launched in 2011, the Trail Masters Program has already certified 58 volunteers as Trail Masters. Increasing the number of Trail Masters will allow the Thread Trail to increase the amount of volunteer hours specifically dedicated to trail building and maintenance. Current Trail Masters have already registered more than 3,500 volunteer hours since the program’s launch.