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- Projects and Initiatives
Many of the trails in the greater Charlotte area and the nearby sections in South Carolina are part of the Carolina Thread Trail.The Thread is a regional trail network that will ultimately reach 15 counties and more than 2.3 million people. NC Rail-Trails Board member Nancy Pierce has recently authored an interesting story with photos of several Thread trails for the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Her story "500 Miles Through the Carolinas" provides background on how several trails came to be and how citizens use them in their daily lives.
Gold Hill Rail-Trail, ~1 mile, Gold Hill in Rowan County. Take our new Gold Hill map and check out this intriguing historic site in the southeast corner of Rowan County, less than an hour from Charlotte or a 2-hour drive from Durham. On the rail-trail are several old mine shafts (one of which you can see, through a barred door, heading tantalizingly into the darkness, and another now a deep open hole over which you can walk on a catwalk), a rusting steam engine and a small stone powder house. If you hike to the unimproved south end of the trail, which involves climbing down and then up a shallow ravine across which there was once a railway bridge, and making a detour around a section of the trail which was filled in 70 years ago with boulders from the nearby farmer's fields, you'll see at the end of the trail a number of almost-buried 100-year-old railroad ties near the foundations of an old stamp mill site. (See Little Toot -Winter 1999 and Summer 2001 for background and info on the town.) Also please see recent pictures PIC1 PIC2 PIC3, our Flickr site and the Historic Gold Hill web site.
Marcia Cloninger Rail-Trail, Lincolnton. 1.0 mile on Carolina & Northwestern corridor on the South Fork River in the City of Lincolnton. Runs through business district. As of late 2012 a long planned expansion is underway. When completed, now set for ~December 15th, the trail will connect to City Park for a total length of 1.5 miles (for more see article ) See MAP. Contact: Chafin Rhyne at 704-735-1746. Photos 1-7 courtesy of Nancy Pierce Photo. PIC #1 | PIC #2 | PIC #3 | PIC #4 | PIC #5 | PIC #6 | PIC#7
South Fork River Rail-Trail, 1 mile on the old Carolina & Northwestern corridor along the South Fork River, Lincoln County. See MAP. See views of the falls, a trail section, a quiet section on the river and users enjoying the trail in these images: PIC #1 | PIC #2 | PIC #3 | PIC4 | PIC5 | PIC6 | PIC7 (all images ©NancyPiercePhoto). South Fork is part of the Carolina Thread Trail system. Info on the Thread trails can be found at the Catawbalands site.
Troutman Rail-Trail, Iredell County. The 1-mile Troutman Rail-Trail runs from Troutman's business district to a newer north end shopping area, following the former rail bed of the Statesville to Charlotte corridor on the Norfolk Southern Line. The rail-trail lies between US 21 - NC115/Main Street and Eastway Drive, and trail users will find benches along the route.The following images show the pleasant, green setting as walkers enjoy this trail: PIC1 | PIC2 | PIC3
Roger Snyder and Rock Creek Park Greenways, Albemarle in Stanley County. Albemarle has two rail-trails (please see our new map). Both are worth a visit. The paved Roger Snyder Greenway runs first north, then east, and finally south. It begins at the south end of Don Montgomery Park beside Little Long Creek and continues on a widened sidewalk up Main Street and along Salisbury Ave to the newest section, which starts at Salisbury Ave and follows the old Yadkin RR corridor south. The total length of the greenway is 1.4 miles. Parking is available at Don Montgomery Park, and within a few weeks (by mid-April 2011) parking will be available off Glenn Street as well. The newest trail section is currently surfaced with granite screenings and does not officially open until the summer, when it will also be paved, but walkers or cyclists are now welcome to use it as well. This section looks across a large tract of city-owned land on which sits the Wiscassett textile mill, abandoned about 10 years ago, and a warehouse building. The Rock Creek Park Greenway (~1 mile) is just south of the city in Rock Creek Park. This trail also follows the Yadkin RR corridor. Part of the corridor is now the paved road entrance to the park (it is one mile from the park entrance to the end of the Rock Creek trail), but the trail proper is about 0.8 miles long, beginning at the south end of the road, and is marked with a gate. No bicycles are allowed. This unpaved trail follows Rock Creek. The trail has a pleasantly rural secluded feel with trees on either side, a field to the east and the creek on the west side (on a recent visit a blue heron was spied in the creek), but it also gets plenty of use. See recent pictures. PIC1 and PIC2 are of the Roger Snyder Greenway and PIC3 & PIC4 are from Rock Creek. Contact Toby Thorpe, Director, Albemarle Parks and Recreation 704 984 9654.
Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway, 2.93 miles, Mecklenberg County. The urban portion of the Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway is about 2.1 miles, .75 miles of which on a former rail corridor along Stewart Creek. This is directly north and west of downtown and walkable from many downtown locations and the inner city neighborhood of Wesley Heights. There is another non-contiguous section of Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway , Remount-to-Clanton. It is not on a rail corridor. It's about .83 miles, so the total for the Irwin-Stewart Greenway is a non-contiguous 2.93 miles. Terminus trailheads for the urban section are at Bruns Avenue Elementary School (northwest terminus), Irwin Avenue Elementary School/Ray's Splash Planet (northeast terminus) and Freedom Drive at Woodruff Place (west terminus). See images of some old rails that have not been removed and a pleasant, almost rural scene on the greenway.
Highland Rail-Trail, Gaston County. 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. (See Little Toot - Spring 2008 for background on the Highland trail.) 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 our Flickr page and an October 2009 article from the Gaston Gazette Contact Jack Kiser: 704-854-6632..
Oakboro Rail with Trail, Stanley County. This short (~1.5 miles) trail is part of the Carolina Thread Trail system and is believed to be the first rail with trail in North Carolina. Although Oakboro's rail-trail, which parallels an active rail line, is quite short, it connects through a shady path to Oakboro's District Park and a couple of longer loop trails. Nearly all of the park's trails - as well as the rail-trail-portion - are shaded by tall longleaf pines, making this a great destination for a walk on a hot day. The smaller loop circles a large pond (or small lake) with a bridge across it and a variety of waterfowl. Restrooms and a drinking fountain are located by the parking lot at the district park. At the rail-trail end there is a restored caboose and a small railroad museum (open three days a week), see their web site. There is a sign in the park for the Carolina Thread Trail, a planned network of greenways and trails that will eventually connect 15 counties in North and South Carolina. Please see our new map for access information. For views of the trail please see our Photo Gallery.