September 2010

Henderson County Authorizes Impact Study of Proposed Rail Trail

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners has shown real vision in calling for an economic impact study of creating a trail on the unused rail line between Hendersonville and Brevard. In an editorial in Blue Ridge , the Editors make a strong case for the economic and community benefits of a long regional trail and for Federal railbanking of this 18.5 mile "Ecusta" corridor so that it can be preserved for future use as a trail or could be returned to future to use as a rail corridor if needed. “We believe that the development of a trail like this would be an important investment in the future of our region, and will provide numerous benefits for our residents and visitors,” said Chris Burns, treasurer of the group, and a past president of the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce. “The Friends of Ecusta Trail will also focus on other opportunities to connect our communities, and recently participated in a work day to help complete the Estatoe Trail in Pisgah Forest, which connects Brevard’s hike/bike path to the Art Loeb Trail.” More detailed information about the project, as well as information about how community supporters can be more involved can be found on the group's new web site. A September 29th article from Blue Ridge tells more about the site and current efforts. The opening of the 5.5 mile Estatoe Trail on October 15th is reported in an October 16th article in Blue Ridge More information on the trail and the Friends Group can be found in our  July 2010 and May 2009 News Archives and by scrolling down to Rail-Trail Initiatives on our Trails and Projects page.

West Pender Rail Trail Alliance Moving Forward and Will Submit Non-Profit Application Soon

As reported in July, the Alliance is now incorporated as a non-profit. Funds raised at the June 19th Blueberry Festival were used for the incorporation fees, and professional services related to applying to the IRS for designation as a Section 501 (c)(3) corporation. Their application will be submitted later in September. The Alliance has applied for a few grants and has feedback that they may receive a National Park Service planning grant. This would provide the Alliance with a NPS Trail Planner for 1 year. The West Pender rail-trail project was one of seven park projects that made it into the Pender County Parks and Rec five-year comprehensive plan and is supported by resolution in several other local and regional plans. Pender County has dedicated about one mile of trail land in their new Industrial Park and the plan includes a trailhead with facilities. This will be the Alliance's first mile and they are focusing on developing it as a visible first step over the next year. Over the next year they plan to work with the National Parks planner to develop a land acquisition strategy. Earlier this month, the co-founder of the Alliance, Dave Staebler, was presented with a golden Spike award by NCRT for his long service in land research, presentations and a host of tasks related to promoting rail-trail development in Pender County. Dave is moving from NC and AL Capehart presented the award to Dave on September 2. For additional background on rail-trail plans and documentation for this project, please see the 2007-09 report on the Atlantic-Seaboard Coast Line corridor compiled by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the recently completed Concept Plan. For information on future activities of the Alliance please contact Susan Bullers.

Celebrations Scheduled for Seven Carolina Thread Trails

Starting on September 15, seven Carolina Thread Trail communities will host “Marking The Thread” celebrations in North and South Carolina as local leaders officially unveil the newly-marked trails. Attendees will experience the new trails and greenways that will ultimately weave throughout 15 counties and connect more than 2 million people. The Thread offers a growing network of trails and conservation corridors for walking, biking, commuting, fishing, paddling and simply enjoying. Counties and towns design and own the trails that enrich communities in the areas of health and wellness, economic development, land preservation and community collaboration. Of the 15 counties in The Thread region, eight have fully-adopted master plans, four are in the active planning stages and three are engaged in the citizen outreach phase. To date, counties with adopted plans have identified 874 miles of planned trails and more than 63 miles of trails are now open for public enjoyment. The Cloninger Trail and South Fork River Trail in Lincoln County, the Highland Rail-Trail in Gastonia and the Oakboro Rail-With-Trail in Stanly County are on rail corridors and are now part of the growing Thread initiative. See below for the dates of the celebrations. For more information, please visit

September 18

Lincolnton - Lincoln County, NC

Oakboro - Stanly County, NC

Baxter Village - York County, SC

Landsford Canal - Chester County, SC

September 19

Broad River - Cleveland County, NC

September 25

Davidson - Mecklenburg County, NC

October 9

Nation Ford - York County, SC