About


2023 NC Year of the Trail celebrates North Carolina’s vast network of trails, greenways, and blueways which showcase our diverse landscapes – grand mountain vistas, quiet rivers, vibrant urban greenways, coastal forests, and the rolling hills of the piedmont.

NC Year of the Trail is the largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history.

North Carolina is the Great Trails State, where each of North Carolina’s 100 counties should be able to enjoy the proven benefits of trails, including health, safety, economic development, tourism, transportation, and environment. Trails are the backbone of our state’s growing $28 billion outdoor recreation economy.

The Year of the Trail campaign will reach communities with the message of how and where to experience trails that showcase North Carolina’s beautiful landscapes, provide healthy recreation, and stimulate local economies. The NC General Assembly NC designated 2023 as NC Year of the Trail, an effort led by the Great Trails State Coalition.

The Great Trails State Coalition is a broad-based group of diverse organizations, agencies, and supporters advocating for increased state investment in all types of trails statewide: hiking, paddle, mountain biking, equestrian, and paved.

Goals for NC Year of the Trail:

  • Inspire people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to try trails,
  • Demonstrate the importance of trails to elected officials.
  • Boost outdoor recreation tourism across the state through Year of the Trail events in all 100 counties.
  • Promote safe and responsible use of trails, with the Outdoor NC Principles.
  • Advance diversity and inclusion on trails.

“I am convinced of the benefits trails and greenways bring to our North Carolina communities through increased tourism and the associated economic growth, plus enhanced recreational opportunities for improved citizen health. An added bonus is that these trail systems simply make everyone aware, through first hand observation, of our state’s wonderful natural resources.”

– Representative Hugh Blackwell

Downloads

Year of the Trail
Official
Brand Anthem

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LEADERSHIP COMMITTEES

Honorary Committee

  • Representative Hugh Blackwell
    Burke County
  • Representative Larry Strickland
    Harnett and Johnston Counties
  • Representative Dean Arp
    Union County
  • Former Representative Pat Hurley
    Randolph County
  • Lori Bush
    Mayor Pro Tem, Cary; retired Cisco Systems; East Coast Greenway Alliance Board
  • Alice Butler
    Mayor, Town of Roseboro
  • Jennifer Pharr Davis
    Internationally recognized adventurer, speaker, author, and hiker
  • Kate Dixon
    Retired, Executive Director, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail
  • Chuck Flink
    President, Greenways, Inc.; one of the nation’s leading greenway planners
  • Bill Flournoy
    Founder of Triangle Greenway Council
  • Sig Hutchinson
    Chair, Wake County Board of County Commissioners
  • Kristian Jackson
    Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Recreation Management, Appalachian State University
  • Howard Lee
    Former Mayor, Chapel Hill; former Secretary, NC Department of Natural Resources & Community Development
  • Chuck Neely
    Former NC Representative; retired attorney
  • Chuck McGrady
    Former NC Representative; NC DOT Board of Directors
  • Pat McCrory
    Former NC Governor
  • Dwayne Patterson
    Director, NC State Parks
  • Mitchell Silver
    Former NYC Parks Commissioner; former Director of Planning City of Raleigh; Principal, McAdams
  • Stephanie Swepson-Twitty
    President/CEO Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation

Planning Committee

  • Palmer McIntyre
    NC Year of the Trail Director, Piedmont Land Conservancy/ Piedmont Legacy Trails
  • Vivian Coleman
    NC Year of the Trail Coordinator, Vivid Earth Design
  • Sandi Bailey
    Town of Cary
  • Amanda Baker
    Visit NC
  • Bret Baronak
    Carolina Thread Trail
  • Betsy Brown
    Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail
  • Joe Furstenburg
    NC Department of Transportation
  • Sue Gray
    NC Horse Council
  • Brianna Haferman
    Piedmont Legacy Trails
  • Beth Heile
    Fonta Flora State Trail
  • Brent Laurenz
    Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail
  • Andrew Meeker
    East Coast Greenway Alliance
  • Michael Meredith
    Conservation Corps NC
  • Steve Pierce
    McDowell Trails Association
  • Mary Joan Pugh
    Randolph County Trails
  • Smith Raynor
    NC State Parks
  • Ann Savage
    NCSU Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
  • Charlynne Smith
    Recreation Resource Services
  • Jason Taylor
    Elkin Valley Trails Association
  • Iona Thomas
    McAdams/East Coast Greenway Alliance
  • Michelle Wells
    North Carolina Recreation & Parks Association
  • Erin Welsh
    Destination by Design
  • Kathryn Zeringue
    McAdams

Supported by Destination by Design, Backslope (Seth Alvo and Daniel Sapp), and Blue Ion

Trails are important because they are one of the most direct connections that we have to our environment. A well-crafted trail invites you on a journey that can teach you about the physical landscape and allows you to discover the inner topography of yourself.”

– Kristian Jackson