The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation recently awarded $3,025,636 in grants for 13 land acquisition projects through the Complete the Trails Program Fund. These grants will leverage more than $13 million in matching funds to help local nonprofit partners acquire land for state trails projects in nine North Carolina counties.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate North Carolina's Year of the Trail than by providing grants to expand numerous official state trails," said North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary D. Reid Wilson. "We appreciate Governor Cooper and the General Assembly for their commitment to this effort that will support outdoor recreation, improve public health, and expand access to nature."
The Complete the Trails Program was created through 2021 legislation that provides an unprecedented level of funding — $29.25 million — for state trails in North Carolina. Complete the Trails Program funds are being used for land acquisition, capacity building, trail development, and small community grants. The Complete the Trails Program is administered by the Division of Parks and Recreation in coordination with a nonprofit partner for each state trail. The Division resides within the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
There are 14 state trails authorized by state law, including seven land-based trails, four paddle trails, and three that are a combination of paddle and land-based trails. The planned mileage for the system is over 3,800 miles. Over 34 state parks, state natural areas, and state recreation areas host or are adjacent to state trail segments.
The land acquisition grants are detailed below:
|Recipient||State Trail||Acquisition Project||County||Amount|
|Blue Ridge Conservancy||Northern Peaks State Trail||NPST Connector Property||Ashe||$125,000|
|Blue Ridge Conservancy||Northern Peaks State Trail||NPST Connector Property||Ashe||$144,000|
|Conserving Carolina||Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail||Joel Ridge Trail||Rutherford||$250,000|
|Conserving Carolina||Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail||Buffalo Creek Park Addition||Rutherford||$279,500|
|East Coast Greenway Alliance||East Coast Greenway State Trail||Selma Connector||Johnston||$250,000|
|Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina||Wilderness Gateway State Trail||Pinnacle Mountains West||McDowell / Rutherford||$293,700|
|Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina||Wilderness Gateway State Trail||Vein Mountain Road Connector||McDowell||$85,000|
|Friends of Fonta Flora State Trail||Fonta Flora State Trail||Old Fort Trailhead Entrance Road||McDowell||$88,012|
|Friends of Fonta Flora State Trail||Fonta Flora State Trail||McDowell County Trail and Trailhead||McDowell||$108,500|
|Friends of Mountains-to-Sea Trail||Mountains-to-Sea State Trail||North River Wetlands Preserve||Carteret||$1,000,000|
|Friends of Mountains-to-Sea Trail||Mountains-to-Sea State Trail||Bushy Lake North||Cumberland||$282,874|
|Piedmont Lands Conservancy||Deep River State Trail||Deep River Trail Expansion||Chatham||$50,000|
|Yadkin Riverkeeper||Yadkin River State Trail||Burch Station||Surry||$69,050|
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 250,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina's state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina — its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the North Carolina Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the North Carolina Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, visit ncdcr.gov.