It was the late 1990s when got my first introduction to the Sanford outdoor scene. I was mountain biking more than anything else at the time and the Triangle had yet to develop it’s extensive network of trails (legal ones, at least). Lake Crabtree, Umstead, UNC North — that was about it. Then a friend suggested we try Sanford.
Too early to start planning for 2023?
Not when you love the outdoors and 2023 happens to be Year of the Trail in North Carolina.
As I’ve mentioned over the last couple of months, next year has been deemed Year of the Trail in North Carolina and there’s going to be a lot going on. For starters, the State Legislature in 2022 allocated $29.15 million in funding for the Complete the Trails Fund. That money will fund State Trail projects as well as projects deemed :shovel-ready” — that is, the land has been purchased and the trail designed; all that’s needed now is the money to build it. Expect a lot of “Excuse our Mess” signs out in the woods next year.
Last week, we published a list of municipalities in North Carolina that we knew had greenways. Turns out there was a lot we didn’t know.
Since we published that list we’ve heard from an additional 14 municipalities with greenways, from Whiteville’s four greenways totaling a mile in length to Rocky Mount’s 7-mile system to Pinehurst’s 11-mile. Not only we’re we pleasantly surprised that so many municipalities in North Carolina have greenways, but that so many have plans to expand. And not just the Raleigh’s, the Cary’s and the Charlotte’s. Havelock, for instance, will soon add more than 4 miles to its 1-mile system, Albemarle is working on a 3-mile rails-to-trails greenway that will connect its Rock Creek Park and Montgomery Park to downtown, and Sanford, currently with 2 miles, intends to build a 20-mile greenway that will run out to and along the Deep River.