Support your local trail this National Trails Day

If you’ve ever hiked at Crowders Mountain State Park, you may have encountered a challenge or two — tripped over a tree root or scrambled over a rock face. But it’s a good bet you haven’t come across trash or lost your way because the trail wasn’t well maintained. To a large extent, you have your peers to thank for that. Peers such as the ones who will gather June 5 as part of National Trails Day to make sure Crowders Mountain’s trails remain challenging and invigorating, yet safe and fun.

“It is critical that these trails are maintained to make sure the trails remain open, safe and enjoyable,” says Vanessa Gorr, outreach specialist with REI’s Charlotte/Pineville store, which is sponsoring and organizing the NTD workday.

There are more than 200,000 miles of trail in the United States, according to the American Hiking Society, the vast majority of which are cared for by volunteers. To recognize this unique private — and free — arrangement to maintain a vital element of the nation’s infrastructure, the first Saturday in June has, for the past 17 years, been recognized as National Trails Day. It’s a day to stop and celebrate the vital roll volunteers play in maintaining and expanding the nation’s vast trail network.

Take the role volunteers play in Greensboro’s 90 miles of trail. The Triad city has just three maintenance workers to keep its trails in shape, leaving the vast majority of trail work to volunteers.

“They really allow us to be everywhere at once,” says Madeline Carey, Greensboro’s assistant director for trails and greenways. “[Volunteers] really take ownership of trails. And not just on work days, but when they’re just out. They call us when trees are down or whenever there’s a problem. They help us be the eyes and ears of the trail.”

More than 1,100 events are scheduled nationwide on National Trails Day. In some cases, volunteers will roll up their sleeves, grab a pickax and create new trail or spruce up an existing path. The REI crew at Crowders Mountain will work on three miles of trail at the state park west of Charlotte. At least a dozen other such workdays are scheduled throughout the state.

In other cases, it’s a day to celebrate trails by putting them to use. Greensboro’s NTD Festival at Bur-Mil Park, now in its 13th year, will honor trails of every stripe with mountain bike rides, hikes (3.5 and 10 miles), and a guided paddle trip and boat demo. There’ll also be live music, free food, vendors, exhibits, a raffle — everything you’d expect at a trail fair.

“Last year we had about 300 people,” says Carey.

All of this on trails largely built by the people, for the people. Carey says six organizations sponsor sections of that city’s trails network, and local mountain bikers are responsible for “almost all the watershed trails,” she adds, referring to the vast network of mountain bike trails along Greensboro’s three watershed lakes: “They’ve spent a ghastly amount of time on the trails.”

As of today, 22 National Trails Day events are on the American Hiking Society’s official NTD schedule. A quick rundown follows, with links for more in-depth information. And if you have an event that’s not listed, let us know about it and we’ll add it to the list.

Charlotte

McDowell Nature Center
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-noon.
More info here.

Crowders Mountain State Park
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-noon.
More info here.

Coast

NTD activities at the Pine Cliff Recreation area include a cookout and a hike on the Neusiok Trail.

Carteret County Wildlife Club
Havelock
2-mile hike & cookout
noon-7 p.m. Note: This event is on Sunday, June 6.
More info here.

Mountains

Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock
Guided 2-mile hikes every hour.
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
More info here.

Friends of DuPont Forest
Cedar Mountain
Biking, trail maintenance and construction
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
More info here.

Wilkes-Surry Overmountain Victory Trail Association
Elkin
3-mile hike, trail dedication
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
More info here.

REI & Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
Bearwallow Mountain, Gerton
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
More info here.

Montreat's trail network will benefit from volunteer labor on June 5.

Montreat Trail Club
Montreat Nature Center, Montreat
6-mile hike, trail maintenance/construction
8 a.m.-2 p.m.
More info here.

Jackson County Recreation/Parks Dept.
Pinnacle Park, Sylva
2-mile hike, trail maintenance/construction
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
More info here.

Carolina Mountain Club hikes
The Carolina Mountain Club has hikes planned for Tusquitee Bald, Devil’s Courthouse, and the Lakeshore Loop in the Great Smokies. In addition, they’ll be working on a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Waynesville.

Triangle

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
Cary
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-noon
More info here.

American Tobacco Trail
Chatham County
Trail dedication
10 a.m.-noon.
More information here.

Falls Lake/Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Durham
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
More information here.

New Hope Creek Trail
Durham
Trail maintenance/construction
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
More information here.

Eno River State Park / MST
Durham
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
More info here.

Blue Jay Point County Park
Raleigh
Trail maintenance/construction
9 a.m.-noon.
More info here.

Triad

Hanging Rock State Park
Danbury
2-mile hike
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
More info here.

Greensboro Trails Festival
Greensboro
National Trails Day Festival: hikes, bike rides, paddle trips, kids programs, music, food.
7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
More info here.

10 thoughts on “Support your local trail this National Trails Day”

  1. When I click the link for Walk, Run, Bike for Umstead, it appears that the event has already happened last month.

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