The Rowan County Communities Carolina Thread Trail Steering Committee is beginning to develop a master plan for greenways and blueways throughout the county. This plan will guide the development of greenway and blueway trails that may be used for walking, hiking, biking, paddling and horseback riding. These trails will serve as the county’s segments of the Carolina Thread Trail.
Please join us to learn about the Carolina Thread Trail and share your input on the location of greenway and blueway trails within the communities of Rowan County and. The sessions will take place on the following dates and will be drop-in style. The same information will be provided at each public open house.
Tuesday, January 14th: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Saleeby-Fisher YMCA – 790 Crescent Road, Rockwell, NC
Thursday, NC January 16th: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Research Campus (Old Cabarrus Bank Building) – 201 West Avenue, Kannapolis, NC
Tuesday, January 21st : 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
NC Transportation Museum Exhibit Hall (Building C) – 411 S. Salisbury Avenue, Spencer, NC
Thursday, January 23rd from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Cleveland Town Hall – 302 East Main Street, Cleveland, NC
If you are unable to attend one of the public open house meetings, please provide us your input online! Click here to complete the online survey. >>
In 2006, community leaders gave birth to a collective vision for hundreds of miles of trails, greenways and blueways connecting 2.3 million people across 15 counties in the Carolinas. Today, passionate individuals and supporters like Susanne Sellers are working closely at the local level to advance the Carolina Thread Trail…mile by mile, county by county. And for Susanne, advancing The Thread in Lincoln County is not just a passion, it’s personal.
“I wholeheartedly believe in the quality of life enhancement, the health benefits and economic value of The Thread to our community and residents,” she says. “That’s why I work so hard in Lincoln County to ensure that we are continuing the process of advancing The Thread and providing this resource for our community.”
A few years ago Susanne, who is a retired bank executive, was appointed to The Thread’s Governing Board while her friend David Clark joined the Catawba Land Conservancy Board of Directors. Not content with just being board members, they quickly set out to establish a leadership group to promote the importance of conservation and trails in their home county. And with that, Wandering Around Lincoln County (WALC) was born in 2012.
David and Susanne have been strategic about targeting a comprehensive representation of people, skills and knowledge for WALC. Local leaders, planners, community residents, politicians, business owners and corporate executives meet together regularly to share information, ideas and resources on how to enhance Lincoln County’s outdoor amenities and natural areas while promoting the economic, health and community benefits of The Thread.
“WALC advocates an important ethic to preserve, explore and make sure we are doing all we can as a community to protect the green space and natural areas in our county. The word ‘wandering’ in our name is intentional. We want people to explore and enjoy the natural areas and trails within our towns and cities, but sometimes a little aimless wandering within these beautiful places is just as restorative as focused exercise,” she says.
WALC has taken its message across Lincoln County to community meetings, business roundtables, healthcare professionals’ gatherings, and even to the North Carolina General Assembly. And, their efforts are paying off.
WALC members meet regularly with Lincoln County’s NC State Representative Jason Saine and NC Senator David Curtis; both have been helpful in advocating the economic advantages of The Thread and promoting its benefits to their Raleigh colleagues and associates. U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry’s staff regularly participates in WALC meetings to inform the group of national legislation and efforts of interest.
The business community is also on board with WALC. Local area contractors have recently joined the group to offer expertise on trail projects. Lincoln County based manufacturing company, Blum, Inc., has engaged its employees about volunteer opportunities and has made a donation earmarked for The Thread in Lincoln County.
“Access to trails throughout the county is so important because they encourage us all to get more exercise and they preserve the natural beauty and character that we love about this region,” said Karl Rudisser, president of Blum, Inc. “Trails are a way we can invest in our future and everyone can benefit.”
Susanne agrees and leads WALC by example by volunteering to maintain trails or taking walks along The Thread regularly. There are currently 5.6 miles of The Thread open to the public in Lincoln County consisting of the Marcia Cloninger Rail Trail, South Fork Rail Trail, East Main Street Sidewalk Connection, Ramsour’s Mill Park Trail, and Sally’s Y Trail. Over 65 more miles of trail have been identified in the county’s master plan, including a cross-county trail along the South Fork River at Catawba Land Conservancy’s Viles Preserve. This portion of The Thread would consist of approximately three miles of natural surface trail, a canoe launch, gravel parking area and direct access from Blackburn Bridge Road.
Among WALC and The Thread’s other priorities is the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Forney Creek near the Sally’s YMCA in Denver and the construction of approximately one mile of additional natural surface trail along the east side of the creek on property owned by Catawba Lands Conservancy. This would continue the work of an ongoing trail corridor project that will eventually connect Rock Springs Park, Sally’s YMCA and the East Lincoln Community Center. A number of trail projects are in various stages of planning and implementation across Lincoln County.
When asked about WALC’s successes, Susanne proudly says, “Whether gathered around the lunch table or wandering its trails, at its heart WALC remains a great mix of friends who want to tout the benefits of The Thread and conservation. We care about the future of Lincoln County and it’s that shared passion that is making The Thread a reality in our communities and across the region.”
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.
- 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.
Whole Foods Market Charlotte will donate five percent of its net sales to the Carolina Thread Trail on Tuesday, Dec. 17!
Buy food for your holiday feasts, weekly groceries, snacks, or grab your lunch or dinner at the grocery store to support The Thread! WFM Charlotte is located on the corner of Sharon and Fairview roads in the South Park neighborhood of Charlotte next to Phillips Place at 6610 Fairview Rd., 28210. The 5% Day is only being hosted at this Whole Foods Market location. While shopping on Dec. 17, stop by our table to receive an update on The Thread, find local trails, ask questions, and take home a sticker and lip balm!
This give-back program is part of an ongoing community partnership between The Thread and WFM Charlotte. Earlier this year, The Thread supported and shared information at the store’s GrenTrek initiative that encourages healthy living and community engagement among employees. WFM Charlotte hosted a dog walk on Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a segment of The Thread, as well as attended a park maintenance project hosted at Freedom Park in conjunction with The Thread and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation. Also, the market partnered with The Thread for the Trailheads’ Fall Into The Thread event in October hosted at Jesse Brown’s Outdoors for an evening of live music, free refreshments and information.
Whole Foods Market’s 43,000-square-foot Charlotte store serves its customers with a selection of natural and organic products, its Queen’s Corner Bar and Salud Cooking School, and through its family of more than 220 employees. Whole Foods Market stores give back to local communities throughout the year, and one such way is the quarterly 5% Day. In 2012, Whole Foods Market stores across the country raised more than $5 million from the 5% Days to support nonprofits in the local communities. For more information about 5% Day and Whole Foods Market’s other community relations initiatives, follow this link.
To view the WFM Charlotte event calendar, click here.
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Taking a long peaceful walk or jog along Lake Wylie’s shoreline and throughout a protected area is just a few weeks away.
A new 2.8-mile trail that has been under construction at the Seven Oaks Preserve since the summer will open to the public on Friday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. at 6900 S. New Hope Road in Belmont. This trail is on a preserve protected by Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) and connects to other trails at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
The preserve protects important sensitive areas around the lake and safeguards wildlife habitat for wild turkeys, turtles and native wildflowers.
The employees of Rodgers Builders, Inc. kicked off construction and built three pedestrian bridges at no cost to The Thread or CLC. A new parking lot and trailhead have also been constructed. After a brief opening ceremony that includes a ribbon cutting and a sign unveiling, there will be a guided nature hike along the 2.8 mile trail. Please mark your calendars and join us for this trail opening at 6900 S. New Hope Road in Belmont. We’ll provide more event details on The Thread’s website and social media pages.
The Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council Trail opened on Nov. 9! This a new 2.2-mile trail is part of the Carolina Thread Trail. The trailhead and parking lot is located at 1763 Turnersburg Highway in Statesville, NC 28625.
This natural surface trail weaves through a 358-acre permanently conserved area that’s protected by Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) within the Girl Scouts’ Dale Earnhardt Environmental Leadership Campus at Oak Springs in Iredell County. The Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council Trail provides a unique access for the public to explore this natural and ecologically rich area.
After a brief welcome and opening remarks, Tom Okel, executive director of CLC, and Sally Daley, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts council, unveiled the trailhead marker and cut the ribbon to the trail. Girls Scouts from Troop 1377 led the inaugural hike along the trail for attendees; Troop 1377 is from the University Area of Charlotte. A grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund helped conserve this area and land for the trail.
This new trail is one of nine trail segments, totaling 14.4 miles, currently opened in Iredell County that are part of The Thread. This trail opening adds 2.2 miles to the network, bringing to 135 the total number of trail miles of The Thread open to the public across our region.
A portion of the protected area where the trail careens through is designated as a NC State Significant Natural Heritage Site – an area of special biodiversity importance identified by the NC Natural Heritage Program to protect the natural habitat of rare plant and animal species.
Oak Springs, located on a 673-acre campus, is a regional destination for Girl Scouts and provides camp activities and educational experiences for girls from Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Rowan, Stanly, Union and York, SC counties.