Old Fort Trails Project Partnership Aims To Help Build A Healthy & Economically Vibrant Community.

By Mike Andress

In this episode I sit down with the G5 Trail Collective, US Forest Service, People on the Move for Old Fort, and the Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation to discuss plans to expand the trail system in the Grandfather District to include 40+ miles of new multi-use trails. We talk about how expanding the trail system will allow for greater recreation opportunities for the community and visitors alike. We also discuss how this community driven project has been fueled by a passion for inclusion, sustainability, and a design that will finally allow users to experience the richness of this relatively inaccessible forest. SPECIAL MUSICAL GUEST: Shay Martin Lovette, Boone, NC OLD FORT, NCOld Fort, NC is located at the base of the Black Mountain Range in the Pisgah National Forest. Once a thriving textile town it has been a shell of its former self for nearly two decades. But, Old Fort is staging a comeback by tapping into the world class natural resources, rich manufacturing history, exiting iconic trails, and outdoor enthusiasts that already travel to the region. Signs of life are everywhere, including the new brewery, coffee shops, apparel manufacturing, outfitters, and plans for future investment in small businesses. Old Fort is poised to become the next great small mountain town in Western North Carolina, and this trail project is a huge part of that vision.MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEG5 Trail CollectiveCamp GrierEagle Market Streets Development CorporationPeople On The Move Old FortUS Forest Service Grandfather Ranger DistrictBlue Ridge TravelerKitsbowPisgah Map CompanyDogwood Health TrustThe G5 Trail Collective StoryThe G5 Trail Collective is a 501-c3 non-profit initiative powered by Camp Grier in partnership with the USFS, the five counties that make up the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, local communities, and the recreational trail user groups.  The G5 Collective was conceived as a solution to the lack of funding for trail maintenance and trail development projects in the Grandfather District. The working group recognized that the district is a tremendous asset and could be a significant force to help build healthy and economically vibrant rural communities. Recent progress in state-sponsored trails like the Fonta Flora, Wilderness Gateway Trail, and the Overmountain Victory Trail make this a unique time to look at the Grandfather District trail systems and develop new connections from these state trails to federal public lands near rural communities. 

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