Lunch and Learn Program

Friends of the Valdese Rec, Inc (FVR) hosts a free monthly Lunch and Learn Program for Young for the Young at Hearts in the community. Every third Thursday of the month at Noon, FVR provides lunch, time to socialize and a 20-minute program for those adults who are retired or have time for lunch. First United Methodist Church of Valdese provides the space for the lunch event. Continue reading “Lunch and Learn Program”

Mountain Bike Trail Open!!

Ribbon Cutting with the Volunteers who built the trail and Rep Blackwell who assisted with funding.

Planned to be at Valdese Lakeside Park from the very beginning, a 4.2 mile Mountain Bike Optimized Trail is now open to bikers (and hikers). From a 2018 Master Plan to a 2023 Specific Design Plan to 4 months of hard work from volunteers in 2024, Friends of the Valdese Rec held a celebration breakfast with the dedicated volunteers.

Read the full story about the new Hollipop Trail,

Volunteers – Mountain Bike

928 hours so far!! Our volunteers have gone above and beyond building the mountain bike trail at VLP to save money. Round 2 of the Mountain Bike Trail Building Process – Cutting Roots – 280 volunteer hours over 16 workdays April 3- May 10. Round 1 was clearing the corridor – 648 Volunteer Hours from Feb 2 through April 2, over 36 workdays. More to do, but getting closer

Almost to Pavilion Goal

Fundraising is heading into the home stretch for the Pavilion and Amphitheater at Valdese Lakeside Park. The Pavilion will serve as a “family room,” a gathering space for the community to take part in classes, meals, awards, exercise, meet ups, entertainment (movie, music, drama) and shelter (from rain and sun). The flexible design will allow for picnic tables to be placed on the slightly raised platform for a community meal or removed for an educator or local theater performance to be center stage with the picnic tables scattered around the grassy lawn. The amphitheater seating will provide easy setup. This heart of the park will unify visitors seeking comfort in the natural forested environment with a lake view. Having an established space will encourage more organizations, including our own, to offer free programming at the park.

We Need a Plan

A parks and recreation master plan is a comprehensive, long-range strategy for the creation, optimization, and maintenance of a community’s assets. It doesn’t focus on one particular park but instead offers a bird’s-eye view of a community’s parks and recreation landscape, both today and beyond. It examines the parks and recreation assets’ ability to meet the needs of the community and outlines steps for closing the gap between current capabilities and those needs. (from

Can’t put your finger on exactly what Valdese needs in recreation? Having a hard time prioritizing all that you want? The Town of Valdese needs a new Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan.

It is recommended that Local Governments have a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan created every 10 years. The last plan for Town of Valdese was completed in April 2013. Some of the items a traditional comprehensive plan includes

  • Input from the community (through public meetings, paper surveys, online surveys)
  • Learning how the community uses existing facilities (which ones and how often) as well as what they would like to see added
  • Taking an inventory of existing facilities and condition/life expectancy to help plan maintenance
  • Looking at trends (pickleball, hiking, camping)
  • Evaluating the community – (population – size and age, space available, goals of town)
  • Looking at state, county and other local government assets to be complimentary
  • Lists goals for 3, 5 and 10 years to help in short and long term planning
  • Budget numbers for projects 
  • Grant funding sources list

The plan also helps when applying for grants to show the request for funds is part of a larger planning process – that thought has been put into the request, that it is what the community wants. Granting agencies give more “points” to local governments with recent plans. It shows a thoughtful path forward instead of incremental fixes that can be more costly and/or not the right answer.

Instead of McGalliard Falls needs a playground, a plan may look at – is a playground really needed and where in Valdese is a new playground best suited. A study may learn there is a big request for soccer fields, and can recommend the best placement. Some parks may need new shelters, safer restroom access – while doing that work, what additions go along the update?

Want more examples of what plans look like? 

A Master Park Plan is different than a broad Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan. The Valdese Lakeside Park Master Plan is very detailed on exact amenities, the style, what will go where.

Gather at the Table

In October, the Community Foundation of Burke County awarded FVR a $9327 grant to purchase 12 picnic tables (2 ADA) for the Open Green. FVR funds of $984.03 were used to cover the small overage for a price increase and shipping. The tables arrived on Wednesday, October 18. FVR volunteers (Johnny and Eric) spent two days assembling the tables to get them ready for Great Trails State Day on Saturday, October 21 for a Pizza Party. First the first time at the park, we had room for 74 people to sit together.

Continue reading “Gather at the Table”

1000 Mile Challenge

Saturday, October 21 was Great Trails State Day across NC as part of NC Year of the Trail 2023. We set a goal to collectively bike, hike, paddle 1000 miles at Valdese Lakeside Park during the day. We blew that goal away and finished at 1526 miles! 509 people and 70 dogs, 8am – 7:30pm. Didn’t even get the folks that entered/left Lovelady Rd and McGalliard Falls side as part of the count.

Continue reading “1000 Mile Challenge”

Geocache at Parks

Treasure hunting in Valdese?? You bet. Geocaches are hidden all around our parks (and town). Not sure what this Hike and Seek adventure is all about. You just need an app on your phone and a willingness to explore.

Geocaching is for everyone. When you find a geocache, open it up to see what is inside. If you take a trinket, you should replace it with something else!

The picture on the left is a grandfather out exploring with his grandkids at Valdese Lakeside Park and a located geocache container with goodies.

What is Geocaching

Wes Presnell (and Wanda) for led a Geocache Class at Valdese Lakeside Park today (pictured below). They have placed most of the 19 geocaches at Valdese Lakeside Park. The class taught the basics and then attendees went searching for treasure and got some exercise along the way. Get the app and give it a try!