CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina is investing $29.25 million into the Complete the Trails Fund, which will provide grants for State Trail projects and build capacity for State Trail nonprofit partner organizations.
The decision to fund trails, marking the first time N.C. has made a significant direct investment in trails, comes after the General Assembly’s final budget was approved by the N.C. Senate and signed by Governor Roy Cooper.
State officials say this vital funding will lead to tremendous progress in building North Carolina’s 12 official State Trails.
These long-distance trails range from the French Broad River in the mountains to the Roanoke River Trail in the northeastern part of the state, according to a news release.
Officials say the budget also creates a new permanent Trail Coordinator position.
The Complete the Trails Fund will be managed by the N.C. Trails Program within the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
Officials say there are also a number of earmarks for specific trail projects including $2 million for trail feasibility studies and authorization for the 12th State Trail, Roanoke River Paddle Trail.
State officials say trails are the foundation of North Carolina’s $28 billion dollar outdoor recreation economy and by promoting and investing in trail infrastructure, the state is well-set to grow this number significantly.
“Trail funding in the state budget is a landmark victory. It is a job well done by everyone – from the coalition to members of the General Assembly to Governor Cooper. The citizens of North Carolina will benefit from this cooperative effort whether a trail brings them recreational opportunities, healthy lifestyle choices, a positive economic impact, or transportation options. I am proud to have been a part of this critical first step and look forward to the coalition’s work on the recurring funding still needed for all trails – state, regional and local.” Judge Robert C. Hunter, President of Friends of the Fonta Flora State Trail, Inc.