Highland Rail-Trail

The City of Gastonia used two $75,000 NC-DENR Recreational Trails grants, along with funding from the Community Foundation of Gaston County, the local Glenn Foundation, The Bikes Belong Coalition and City appropriations to complete conversion of the 1.7 mile former C&NW rail corridor to a paved trail, which now extends from downtown to I-85. The trail is part of the Carolina Thread Trail system that, once finished, will connect 15 counties in the region.

In 2006, the City worked with Norfolk Southern to establish the first city federally railbanked corridor in North Carolina. In early 2009, the City was awarded $850,000 in Federal Stimulus funding to extend the trail through downtown along street corridors. The City plans to extend the trail along a riparian corridor another 1.2 miles to Rankin Lake Park when other funding is obtained. This multi-use trail (see MAP) (click to enlarge) moves through a neighborhood whose residents are heavily dependent upon walking and bicycling for transportation and provides critical, low-cost grade separated crossings of I-85 and the Norfolk Southern main line. For more see an October 2009 article from the Gaston Gazette.

photos courtesy of Nancy Pierce