The Rutherford County Trails Collaborative is Born!!

Hikers appreciate the commanding view from the Eagle Rock Overlook in Rutherford County, NC

Last fall, the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority (RCTDA) successfully led a stakeholder effort to form the Rutherford County Trails Collaborative.

Representatives from the RCTDA, Rutherford County, Chimney Rock State Park, Foothills Conservancy of NC, Conserving Carolina, the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition, Carolina Climbers Coalition, and RHI Legacy Foundation identified a simple goal for the Collaborative: to guide trail infrastructure development projects in Rutherford County.

Paddlers of all ages and abilities enjoy floating along the Broad River Paddle Trail.

The group got off to a strong start by completing a comprehensive inventory of all trails (both future and existing) in Rutherford County. The trails were grouped into four categories: 1) state-designated; 2) regional; 3) local; and 4) paddle trails. Each of these categories has distinct funding opportunities from a variety of sources.

The Purple Martin Greenway in Rutherfordton, NC is the perfect place for a family bike ride!

Next, the Collaborative identified needs for each trail listed in the inventory. The need categories include: 1) planning; 2) design and engineering; 3) construction; and 4) enhancement/maintenance. Based on the results from the trail inventory, categorization, and the needs assessment, the Collaborative created a master list to help prioritize future projects, as well as a comprehensive list of potential grant funding.

Rutherford County draws hikers from all over NC (and beyond!) to hike, paddle, and ride on their beautiful trails.

Moving forward, the Collaborative plans to meet every other month to update group members on trail projects in the County. Additionally, an Implementation Action Plan will be developed for each fiscal year to identify specific trail infrastructure projects based on prioritization, needs, and potential grant funding sources.

Weed Patch Mountain Trail is a popular singletrack trail in Rutherford County.
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