Valdese Lakeside Park Ribbon Cutting

Construction at Valdese Lakeside Park is wrapping up. The public is invited to the Grand Opening on Tuesday,  November 23 at 1:15 pm.  The park address is 1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr NE. Detailed Directions

Facilities scheduled to be completed include 4000 linear feet of greenway, parking lot, restrooms, and the wildlife viewing platform (at Meditation Point). Still in the planning stages are a dog park and fishing pier with kayak launch due to be completed in the Spring.

Before cutting the ribbon, remarks will be given by NC House Speaker Tim Moore, Town of Valdese Mayor Chip Black, Kellex Seating President Chris Rice and Valdese Parks and Recreation Director Doug Knight. Friends of the Valdese Rec President and Founder Beth Heile will serve as the emcee.

Light refreshments will be provided by Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR). As a bonus, FVR will take interested attendees on guided hikes to the wildlife viewing platform (just a tenth of a mile), along the new greenway and on other trails.

The driving force in the formation of Friends of the Valdese Rec in 2015, was to help the Town of Valdese acquire 300 acres on Lake Rhodhiss for a passive park. That effort was realized in 2018 when the property closed with $1M in state grants and a combined $365K from the Rostan Family Foundation and Kellex Seating. Additional pledges from the community showed granting agencies the grassroots desire for the park.

Since closing on the property, Friends of the Valdese Rec volunteers logged over 3000 hours as they built, maintained and mapped trails on the property. To help people become more comfortable exploring the acreage, FVR hosts group hikes, picnics and crafts in the park. Another promotional tool has been the use of wildlife cameras at the park to show the variety of animals protected with the land being under a conservation easement. The efforts have paid off when during the early stages of the pandemic, 150 people per day visited the forested property.

Construction, like the land acquisition, is being funded by grants, $550K and community donations, $520K. NC State House Speaker Moore appropriated $51K of NCDOT funds to the park. Local granting agencies have also assisted in the park with the Community Foundation of Burke County providing funding for benches along the greenway and the Mull Foundation assisting with the dog park.

Heile said she expects the park will only grow in popularity with the new amenities.

“Valdese Lakeside Park is an incredible asset for our community. For the past three years, folks from across the county, and the region, have been enjoying the property as-is. However, with the addition of the parking lot, restrooms and ADA compliant greenway I am excited for those who are not as adventurous to start taking advantage of the park. Small town initiative and energy made this park possible for generations to come.”

Valdese Lakeside Park is located at 1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr NE, Valdese. Attendees are asked to start gathering at 1:15, the speakers will start promptly at 1:30 and the ribbon will be cut at 2:00 pm. Visitors may want to plan to stay the entire afternoon to explore as many of the 300 acres as they can.

Tour of Construction at VLP

Senator Warren Daniel was among the attendees at the Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR) construction update tour at Valdese Lakeside Park. Work on phase one amenities started in May and will be completed by November 30. Donors, elected officials and candidates received an update from FVR President Beth Heile while standing in the graded parking lot where the restrooms and kiosk will be located. They then walked the greenway that will be ADA compliant and saw the future locations of the overlook, kayak launch and fishing pier. Attendees journeyed 1.3 miles to the future suspension bridge location that will take park visitors to McGalliard Falls Park. Rep Hugh Blackwell was impressed with the progress from his days of walking the grassy, mud puddle filled trail that had been available to visitors for the past three years. Blackwell sponsored legislation creating the Wilderness Gateway State Trail and has been working with local governments in planning the Burke River Trail – both trails follow the Valdese Greenway. Continue reading Tour of Construction at VLP

NC Year of the Trail 2023

North Carolinians have something new to look forward to in 2023. Under the leadership of Representative Dean Arp, R-69 (Union), Representative Hugh Blackwell, R-86 (Burke), Representative Pat Hurley, R-70 (Randolph), Representative Larry Strickland, R-28 (Harnett, Johnston), the NC House and now the NC Senate on August 10, 2021 passed HB 554, designating 2023 as “North Carolina Year of the Trail. This designation is supported by the North Carolina Great Trails State Coalition (of which FVR is a member) and the group will be spearheading the plans for the year. Continue reading NC Year of the Trail 2023

Greenway Construction Started

As work continues at Valdese Lakeside Park on the parking area and restroom site, the greenway is now getting attention. Pictured here is where the greenway passes the picnic area (or the right). If you ever walked the grass greenway, you know this was a little steep. Workers are cutting into the hill to make sure it meets ADA standards for grade.

To see weekly construction update videos from FVR Media Specialist Zakk Heile, go to VLP Construction

Continue reading Greenway Construction Started

Rep Blackwell – Conservation Award

Representative Hugh Blackwell has been named Public Lands Conservationist of the Year by NCWF.

NC Representative Hugh Blackwell (District 86) has been a trailblazer in preserving thousands of acres in western North Carolina by increasing the miles of trails, leaving a legacy for future generations.

A State Trail can only be created by authorization of the General Assembly. Blackwell worked with NC State Parks and sponsored bills for three State Trails – Fonta Flora State Trail (Morganton to Asheville), Wilderness Gateway State Trail (Baker’s Mountain to Chimney Rock) and Overmountain Victory State Trail (SC line and TN line to Stone Mountain). After the passing of the bills, the number of State Trails from grew from six to nine. Continue reading Rep Blackwell – Conservation Award

Dog Park Match Met

No more driving to Morganton or Hudson for those in eastern Burke County. A dog park is coming to Valdese Lakeside Park! Last fall, Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR) applied for a grant from the J Alex and Vivian G. Mull Foundation Charitable Fund to help with fencing for a dog park. The grant was awarded contingent on FVR raising a matching $5,000 from the community. To ensure the success of that fundraiser, Farris Insurance pledged another $5,000 if the individuals and businesses met the match by March 31, 2021. The required match was met a week early. Continue reading Dog Park Match Met

2021 Annual Meeting

The FVR Annual General Membership Meeting was held online. The guest Speaker was Ryan Sparks with Foothills Conservancy of NC. A Land and Water Fund grant was used to purchase the Valdese Lakeside Park property and FCNC monitors the land to make sure the restrictions are being followed. (notes from Ryan below)

For the business part of the meeting, the accomplishments from the last year were reviewed.  And, the board members were voted in. Continue reading 2021 Annual Meeting