curt's blog

Pre-registration for 2013 Ales for Rails-Trails 5K Opens August 1st

This 5K event will be held on Sunday October 13th at 4pm, with start and finsh near the FullSteam Brewery on Madison Street in Durham.  Registration through September 30th will be $25, and $30 from October 1-13. Please see our Ales Events page and our Facebook page for more on our third annual 5K race.

Ales for Rail-Trails 2014 Registration is Open

Registration for our Ales for Rail-Trails 5K Race is open. The Race will be held on Sunday October 12th and once again we'll be starting and finishing just east of downtown Durham with a portion of the course on the Ellerbe Creek Trail. Bull City Running Co. will be providing major course support with post-race libations from FullSteam Brewery. Click here for more on the race and a link to our registration page.

Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail and New Bridge

Over the past several months the Elkin Valley Trails Association has seen lots of of progress on the E & A Rail-Trail. On July 12th NCRT held its quarterly Board meeting in Elkin and following our meeting took a walk on the trail with Bill Blackley of EVTA The new bridge is open for users and will be formally dedicated later this Summer (click for image). From downtown the trail will be about two miles but the downtown portion is not marked as such. The new portion of the trail is ~ one mile long. EVTA has received great local support from volunteers and received grants and donations from a number of Corporations and Foundations. The bridge alone cost $91,000; installing pilings and bridge $78,000; construction roads and trails over $45,000; FEMA studies, environmental studies and work, engineering, etc. over $60,000. Major contributors/grant givers included: Lowes Foundation; WIFM radio, Town of Elkin, Surry County, Chatham Foundation, Hillsdale Foundation, Winston-Salem Foundation, RTP grant, over 60 businesses, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Yadkin Rotary Club, multiple restaurants, Walmart, Frontier Gas, Greenhill Environmental, Yadkin Valley Railroad, and many more. The group is working to secure a second grant for the second bridge and hopes to begin building that bridge after Feb 15, 2015. By the rules of the grant we can't start any construction until we get funding. We are however, planning to build trail north of the planned-for second bridge so that when the grant is completed and the bridge is installed citizens will be able to get on the trails and walk or ride a long way right from the first day.

EVTA has held multiple fundraisers and a dedicated group of citizens have given over 6,000 volunteer hours on the Association's various trails and activities. If you would like to assist in the Association's trail building please check their Facebook page for news on coming events and workdays: 

Spring 2014 Newsletter Available On-line

We've just loaded the on-line version of our latest Newsletter. Our lead article tells some history of the mills, warehouses and rail line which were central to the economy of Rocky Mount during much of the 20th century. Re-development is now occurring and a few active citizens are working hard to put in place a 1 mile rail-trail as a key piece of these changes. You'll also find updates on the Dunn-Erwin extension project, the bridge and other construction work by the Elkin Valley Trail Association in Surry County, and on the completion of the final phase of the American Tobacco Trail in Durham. While not a rail-trail in North Carolina, you may be interested in a fairly new and very popular trail in South Carolina, the Swamp Rabbit Trail near Greenville. This recent article is testimony to the effects this greenway has had on the town of Travelers Rest and shows what a great investment rail-trails can be for local communities.

First Toast to Trails Ride A Success

Our initial Toast to Trails ride saw 62 happy riders cycle 36 miles on the American Tobacco Trail to the Cloer Family Vineyards for lunch, music and wine tasting. A good time was had by all and many of the riders remarked on how lovely the vineyard was and how they enjoyed the ride. We hope to make this an annual event.Thanks so much for everyone who rode, volunteered and helped coordinate this fundraiser.


Kick-Off meeting of Study of Crime Perceptions Held on March 25th

On March 25th a group consisting of trail advocates, Durham Police, Parks & Rec staff, pastors, planners and others concerned with trail safety met at North Carolina Central Univ. to kick off a several month study of the views and perceptions of trail crime on portions of the ATT. This study is a partnership between North Carolina Rail-Trails, Dr. Kofi Boone of  North Carolina State and Dr. Deborah Bailey of North Carolina Central University. These researchers  will be leading teams of grad students in conducting interviews, public meetings and collecting survey data via questionnaires. Funding for the study was provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  We'll post any early findings here on our site over the next few months. The study is scheduled to be completed by November 2014. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project!

For more on this initial meeting please see this article from WUNC radio


Rail-Trails Can Transform an Area

A February 2014 article takes an in-depth look at the process of planning a rail-trail in Fall River Massachussetts including the varying reactions to the plan by members of the community and follow-ups with users after it was built.  NCRT Exec. Director Carrie Banks contributed to this interesting piece.

Great News on Future Extension of Dunn-Erwin Trail

Last month we were notified of the approval of a grant from the State Trails Program to support construction of the 1.5 mile extension of the Dunn-Erwin rail-trail. Please see our new map showing the route over to the Cape Fear River. City of Erwin staff have signed off on the related contract and we expect that development will begin quite soon. No firm schedule has been set for major milestones or completion but interest is high for this project and we expect to see work getting underway this Winter. We'll update you on the project in the next few months. For more on the project please see our January 2012 article.

Winter 2013 Newsletter Available Online

Our latest newsletter has just been posted and contains updates on the future Dunn-Erwin expansion, the Peavine trail in Marion, work by the Elkin Valley Trail Association to raise funds and actually start building a trail, some news on the recent grants NCRT has been involved in as well as a report of the opening event for the final phase of the American Tobacco Trail. Members who have opted to receive a hard copy version should be receiving it later this month.

Rails-with-Trails Report Released

A September 2013 report available on-line from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) presents a thorough discussion and presentation of the characteristics of RWTs in 88 existing rails-with-trails in 33 states, based on a survey of trail managers and the results of RTC’s ongoing study. It provides a collection of data, examples and practical tools to assist trail planners and advocates in increasing awareness of the rail-with-trail concept, and advancing local and state policies and practices that support rail-with-trail development. This report is usable on several levels--besides the numerous tables and analyses the report contains numerous images of  trail users enjoying these trails. Currently North Carolina has three RWTs: