Salisbury, N.C. – The Rowan County Board of Commissioners voted today to officially join the Carolina Thread Trail, making Rowan County the 15th and final county to formally adopt the Thread Trail master plan for its community.
All 10 municipalities in Rowan County, as well as Gold Hill, have already formally adopted the 108-mile trail master plan. The adoption of the plan by the Board of Commissioners was the final step in solidifying the Carolina Thread Trail’s future in Rowan County.
“This is a huge milestone for the Carolina Thread Trail,” said Executive Director Tom Okel. “Now all 15 counties in North and South Carolina that were conceived as part of the Thread Trail network have declared their intentions to join this regional trail initiative.”
Support for the Thread Trail in Rowan County has also been bolstered by a generous gift earmarked for that county by Carolina Thread Trail board member Ed Weisiger, Jr., the president and CEO of Carolina CAT.
The planning process for Rowan County began in 2013, when the Town of Landis, on behalf of all Rowan County communities, received a grant from the Thread Trail to develop a countywide greenway master plan identifying Thread Trail corridors.
In the same year, a steering committee of local staff and citizens was formed to lead and supervise the planning effort. The outcome of the planning process was a greenway master plan that outlines a means for long-term coordination of greenway and trail development to help promote the preservation and improvement of residents’ quality of life. The master plan calls for trails to connect destinations such as historic downtown Salisbury, Dan Nicholas Park and the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
The Rowan County Health Department recently issued a report citing the Carolina Thread Trail as a way to improve the health of its residents, who suffer from greater death rates than the state average among all of the top 10 leading causes, including cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, pneumonia and flu, kidney diseases and whole-body infections.
By publicly adopting the Thread Trail master plan, Rowan County is now eligible to receive grants from the Thread Trail. The competitive grants are awarded quarterly to communities and nonprofit organizations to assist with trail corridor planning, land acquisition, construction and trail amenities. To date, the Thread Trail has awarded more than $4.5 million to communities through the region.
The final trail routes of the Carolina Thread Trail through the Rowan County communities consists of 107.8 miles of trails located along stream/river corridors, road right-of-ways, abandoned rail lines, utility easements, undeveloped land, and bike routes. Almost half of the recommended trails are located along existing road right-of-ways (51.3 miles), while the next highest trail type is along stream/river corridors (19.0 miles), mostly along Grant’s Creek. A total of 69.7 miles of blueways have also been identified along the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers and their tributaries.
Rowan County Thread Trail segments will be built over time as local communities plan and fund their trails and work with neighbors to target points of connection. The master plan integrates existing trails, such as Salisbury Greenway and Gold Hill Rail Trail, with additional greenway or trail segments that will together create a comprehensive multi-use network for connecting people, places and destinations to each other and surrounding counties. The trail routes depicted in the plan illustrate connections between destinations, but not precise routes, as exact routes will be determined over time based on an ongoing dialogue with the community and interested landowners.
About The Carolina Thread Trail
The Carolina Thread Trail is a 15-county, two-state initiative designed to create a regional network of trails, blueways and conservation corridors that would link more than 2.3 million citizens. With technical resources and catalytic funding from the Thread Trail, local communities plan and implement their portions of this greenway system. The Carolina Thread Trail region includes Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties within North Carolina and Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. Catawba Lands Conservancy is the lead agency for the Thread Trail, which is working in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas and many local partners. Currently, 220 miles of Thread Trail are open to the public. For more information, visit carolinathreadtrail.org.