Saturday, September 27 | 12 p.m.
Catawba Cultural Center
1536 Tom Steven Road
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Saturday, September 27 | 12 p.m.
Catawba Cultural Center
1536 Tom Steven Road
Rock Hill, SC 29730
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.
Tom Watson has volunteered more than 100 service hours to The Thread. From picking up several loads of trash at Seven Oaks Preserve Trail, hosting information tables at community events, working as a Trail Master leader, helping to build an 80 foot suspension bridge, clearing invasive plants along trails, and maintaining many natural surface trails, Tom Watson has been invaluable to our efforts this year.
Not only does Tom help lead groups of volunteers on the trail by showing them what to do, but provides detail about why it’s important which further connects volunteers and supporters to The Thread and nature. Tom also volunteered this year with our lead agency, Catawba Lands Conservancy, to help monitor properties, clear invasive plants and participated in other stewardship duties.
As a result of all of his hard work and dedication, Tom been named The Thread’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year! He received the award at the 6th Annual Trail Forum on Dec. 5. Congratulations and thank you, Tom!
This new natural surface trail will directly benefit community residents in Belmont and Lake Wylie, but is open to the general public to enjoy and explore.
The Seven Oaks Preserve, a 77-acre permanently protected area conserved by Catawba Lands Conservancy and is adjacent to Lake Wylie in Gaston County and the new waterfront trail connects to The Garden’s Persimmon Trail. The Seven Oaks Preserve Trail weaves through the preserve’s wooded area that serves as an important wildlife corridor and provides water quality protection for Lake Wylie.
Funding to purchase and conserve the Seven Oaks Preserve, and construct the trail and trail amenities was generously provided by the Seven Oaks Farm, LLC., Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Foundation, Pam Warlick Foundation, W. Duke Kimbrell Family Foundation, North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the Recreational Trails Program (an initiative of North Carolina State Parks). Photos courtesy of Nancy Pierce Photography.
Do 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 Thread 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 region healthy by encouraging physical activity and exploring nature through walking, hiking and kayaking. Click the donate button below to become a Greenway Gals member!
Congratulations to Governing Board Members Ruth G. Shaw and Michael Marsicano, and TreesCharlotte Executive Director Dave Cable who received 2013 Creative Thinkers Awards from the Carolinas Chapter of the Counselors of Real Estate.
Each received the award which honors their roles as trailblazers for The Thread and recognizes the savvy thinking, leadership and partnerships they cultivated laying the groundwork for our trail network. Loren Kennedy, CRE Chair of the Carolinas Chapter, explained the purpose of the award. “These awards are aimed at honoring leaders who exhibited one or more of the following: out-of-the-box thinking; treated obstacles and risks as opportunities for novel solutions; made cutting-edge decisions; or did something that resulted in a paradigm shift in thinking about a subject.” Check out these videos from Ruth and Michael about why The Thread is important to them and our region.
Op-Ed By Philip Blumenthal And Ruth G. Shaw
Special to the Charlotte Observer
Posted on web: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 (Op-ed in paper: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012)
The Carolina Thread Trail was announced five years ago this month, the product of an audacious vision and the determination to realize it. Today in Davidson, the planned network of trails and greenways connecting communities across 15 counties in two states will complete its 100th mile of trail! And that original vision has grown as people across the region added their aspirations.
Since inception, 14 counties have completed community-based trail master plans – with accompanying approvals from 76 local jurisdictions. Communities have expanded what was originally conceived as 500 miles of trail to more than 1,400 planned miles.
Over 1,300 acres of natural lands through which The Thread winds have been conserved, largely with funding from North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The Trailheads, a volunteer group with over 500 members, are helping to build and maintain trails. Communities have received $3 million in grants from the Carolina Thread Trail to plan and build trails, with matching funds from local jurisdictions.
Our region had no overall trail system five years ago, nor any thought of one. Yet it includes one of the fastest growing urban areas of the last decade, with its accompanying disappearance of green space and tree canopy. The region includes rural areas of remarkable natural beauty, and small towns whose greatest assets include their access to waterways and potential for recreational trails.
Increasingly, green space and trails are becoming the amenities most people want nearby. For health and fitness, for transportation, for connection with nature, for environmental benefits, even for economic development, trails and greenways offer an affordable, accessible solution.
How have we come this far? What next?
The progress to date has been built on the vision and generosity of the Foundation For The Carolinas, Knight Foundation, C.D. Spangler Foundation, Women’s Impact Fund, and other generous early supporters. The three lead gifts from Duke Energy, Wells Fargo and Bank of America gave the Carolina Thread Trail staying power for a long-term effort. The Catawba Lands Conservancy has played a key role as lead agency for The Thread.
In addition to financial resources, the people of our communities and their elected officials have made the difference. Their spirit of collaboration, across historic boundaries and barriers, has been remarkable. Land owners have been generous with their donations of land or rights of way.
The coming together of private and public dollars and resources is providing momentum for the long-term effort the Carolina Thread Trail requires. The essential plans are largely in place; more building and funding of trails and greenways lie ahead.
As its name suggests, the Carolina Thread Trail collaboration has indeed been able to weave communities together, just as The Thread itself will connect one destination point to another.
This is a legacy project, one that benefits us today, and one that will expand and grow for our children, grandchildren and all who follow us into this place we call home. Join us, with your time, talent or treasure. We have “miles to go before we sleep,” and “we have promises to keep.”
Philip Blumenthal is current chair and Ruth G. Shaw is the founding chair of the Carolina Thread Trail Governing Board.
Learn about the Carolina Thread Trail and view the interactive map of 59 trails and blueways at www.carolinathreadtrailmap.org.
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.
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
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:
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.