“One of the greatest things about my experience with the Carolina Thread Trail has been meeting inspirational team members, partners and community leaders who share a common vision,” said Ann Hayes Browning, outgoing project director for The Thread. “It’s been such a privilege to work with so many energetic individuals who are committed to making this big idea a reality, community by community.”
Ann brought her passion for trails, conservation and the outdoors to the Carolina Thread Trail in 2006 when the 15-county, two-state initiative was in its infancy. As project director for The Thread for the past seven years, Ann has been at the forefront of building community and philanthropic support for this collaborative initiative.
Creating opportunities to spur regional collaboration and community engagement, lobbying for funding, and developing the grant program are a few examples of Ann’s important role in The Thread, says Catawba Lands Conservancy Executive Director Tom Okel. She was also awarded the 2012 Community Sustainability Award for Parks and Green Space by Sustainable Charlotte.
“Under Ann’s leadership, The Thread has evolved from a concept to a reality that has been embraced by local communities, residents and fitness enthusiasts throughout our region,” said Tom. “With more than 1,400 miles of trail now planned and 117 miles on the ground, what Ann and her team have been able to accomplished is truly impactful in making our towns and cities more livable and healthier. We’ll greatly miss her passion, dedication and leadership to this effort.”
Although Ann is stepping down from a full time role on July 19, she’ll remain on a part-time basis until the transition to a new director is complete. She says she’ll continue to be an advocate for The Thread and remain active in efforts important to the Charlotte region. But before committing to anything new, she’ll take time to relax and enjoy biking, paddling and hiking, of course, on The Thread.