Trail Opening: Catawba Nation Greenway Trail


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.

2013 Volunteer of The Year: Trail Master Tom Watson


SONY DSCTom 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.IMG_1467

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.

IMG_2131As 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!


Seven Oaks Preserve Trail is Now Open in Gaston County

Seven Oaks Preserve ribbon cutting, part of the Carolina Thread TrailA beautiful new 2.8-mile segment of The Carolina Thread Trail is now open at the Seven Oaks Preserve near the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden at 6900 S. New Hope Road in Belmont, NC.

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.Seven Oaks Preserve ribbon cutting, part of the Carolina Thread Trail

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.

Find This Trail:
Seven Oaks Preserve ribbon cutting, part of the Carolina Thread TrailThe Seven Oaks Preserve Trail’s trailhead and parking lot is located at 6900 S. New Hope Road, Belmont, NC 28012 (located south of The Garden).

Community Support:

  • There has been tremendous community support and great participation from local companies to help advance this new trail. Construction launched this summer with donated materials and labor by Rodgers Builders, Inc. for three pedestrian bridges for the trail. Eighty Rodgers’ employees volunteered 725 hours over four work days, and created the foundations and built the bridges this summer as part of the company’s 50th Anniversary, saving The Thread approximately $26,000 in construction material costs (not including labor).


  • The Garden, Premiere Healthcare, Bank of America and Duke Energy all provided employees for various trail-building workdays that culminated in a total of 285 volunteer hours. In mid-November, the City of Belmont donated a dump truck and recycling services for an effort which volunteers and staff cleared three quarters of a ton of trash and debris, including 32 tires and thousands of plastic bottles, from the preserve and trail. To help rid the preserve and trail corridor of kudzu, Gregg Antemann and Carolina Wetland Services loaned CLC a bush hog, a type of rotary mower, for three days which saved $800 in stewardship costs. The Garden and Anteman also volunteered technical support and assistance on how to effectively reduce and kill kudzu on other parts the preserve.


  • Over the last two years, the Duke Energy Habitat Enhancement Program provided $26,000 in grants to help CLC eradicate kudzu from the preserve and trail. In 2012, grant money paid for goats to remove kudzu from 10 acres of the preserve and this year CLC purchased equipment and seeds to increase effectiveness against the kudzu and reestablish native grasses and wildflowers.


  • This new trail is one of 14 trail segments, totaling 21.3 miles, currently opened to the public in Gaston County that are part of The Thread. This new trail adds 2.8 miles to the network, bringing to 137 the total number of Carolina Thread Trail miles open to the public across the region.


  • Trails are vegetated natural buffers that help improve water quality, reduce the impacts of flooding, and provide wildlife habitat, recreation, transportation, conservation, fitness and economic benefits for all to enjoy. Access to trails and greenways is no longer a luxury, but a necessary amenity for all communities to ensure our community health, wellness and sustainability. Across the country, examples demonstrate that trails attract families, businesses and visitors, spurring economic development and increasing the quality of life in communities. According to a study by the National Association of Homebuilders, trails and greenways are the number one amenity desired by potential homeowners when considering moving into a new community.

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!



The Thread’s Trailblazers Honored For Leadership, Creative Thinking

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.

Thread Trail is connecting the region

Carolina Thread Trail

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.

Read more here:

Learn about the Carolina Thread Trail and view the interactive map of 59 trails and blueways at

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

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.