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State and Local Governments Celebrate Haw River Trail Pact

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Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Thursday, July 6, 2006

State and Local Governments Celebrate Haw River Trail Pact

RALEIGH -- Officials from nine local governments and Bill Ross, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will formally initiate an agreement to develop the Haw River Trail at a ceremony July 14 at 10 a.m. at the Graham City Hall.

The memorandum of understanding recognizes that a partnership on all levels of government will be necessary to take full advantage of the conservation and ecotourism benefits of a multi-use trail along the river's corridor linking the new Haw River State Park in Rockingham County with Jordan Lake State Recreation Area about 70 miles to the south.

"Through this agreement, we come together to acknowledge our shared vision and goals for the conservation and recreational use of lands and waters within the Haw River corridor, a critical component of our One North Carolina Naturally Program, our Mountains-to-Sea Trail and of the growing system of trails across North Carolina," Ross said.

The Haw River corridor has been a popular recreation site for paddlers and hikers for more than 10 years with informal agreements among recreational users, landowners and local governments for access and use. Advocates of the trail asked the state trails program administered by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation to help coordinate efforts to develop a more formally recognized trail.

"This effort dovetails nicely with our development by the state parks system of Haw River State Park at the northern limit of the corridor and of the Lower Haw State Natural Area in Chatham County," said Lewis Ledford, division director. "The shared vision of the Haw River as a recreation and economic development treasure is an exciting one for both the state and our partners in these communities."

The partnership will work to build consensus for management, project priorities, increased funding opportunities, safety standards and infrastructure for a multi-use trail, Ledford added.

The local governments who have signed the memorandum of understanding include the counties of Alamance, Guilford, Chatham, Orange and Rockingham as well as the City of Burlington, the City of Graham, the Town of Haw River and the Town of Swepsonville.