Valdese becoming a Trail Town!

Friends of the Valdese Rec President Beth Heile presented to the Valdese Planning Board on Monday, November 21 to share information about the State and Regional Trails coming through Valdese, the importance of embracing the trails and branding Valdese as a Trail Town. 

The Wilderness Gateway State Trail will come over Mineral Springs Mountain to Valdese Lakeside Park and Main Street Valdese. The River Trail of Burke County will run along the Valdese Greenway.

With almost 400 acres of park land in town, it is time to evaluate what amenities should be located at which parks. In addition, look at what businesses are needed to facilitate trail users – an outfitter renting bikes and kayaks, a coffee shop or other gathering spot, etc.

To assist in the effort, Parks and Recreation Director David Andersen has applied for a CORE (Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies) grant. Andersen and Heile have been through a first round interview for the grant. Also, Heile is a member of the Burke County Outdoor Task Force participating in the Building Outdoor Communities program.

To see the presentation slides, go to State Trails in Valdese

One slide from the presentation–

McGalliard Falls 40th Anniversary

(l-r): Ruth Fletcher Gage, Carrie Powell, Ernie Powell, Puse Passmore, Don Brittain, Beth Zimmerman Heile

Reception Held at McGalliard Falls Park on Wednesday, October 5 at 1:15 with cake, punch and great stories to honor those responsible for saving the Falls.

In 1979, after a semester of studying McGalliard Falls, science teacher Don Brittain’s sixth grade class at Valdese Elementary School wrote a letter to the Valdese Town Council. The students asked the town to “save McGalliard Falls and make the area into a park.” At that time, water cascading over the 40-foot-tall and 200-foot-wide rock area contained chemical dye and treated sewage. The exploited land surrounding the falls was a city dump on one side and dug out for fill dirt as needed on the other side.

The class’s findings from geological, environmental and plant studies were presented during a council meeting and their work prompted Valdese Town Manager Richard Whitley to investigate the creation of a park. With his recommendation, the town council led by Mayor C. C. Long voted to spend funds on a master park plan for the property. Continue reading “McGalliard Falls 40th Anniversary”

Lunch and Learn Program

Friends of the Valdese Rec, Inc (FVR) is hosts a free monthly Lunch and Learn Program for Young at Hearts. Every third Thursday of the Month at Noon, FVR will provide lunch, time to socialize and a 15–20-minute program for those in the community who are retired or just interested. First United Methodist Church of Valdese is providing the space for the lunch event. Continue reading “Lunch and Learn Program”

Paint the Park 2022

Plein air event for oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pastel painters held at Valdese Lakeside Park
Up to 35 painters may register for this event – but no later than August 15th. Artists will create artwork from September 10th through September 15th. They will submit one entry from their week of work for judging on September 16th. Judging will take place during the morning on September 17th by a judge selected by the Rock Arts School Foundation Board of Directors.

Continue reading “Paint the Park 2022”

Story Trail Permanent – Hopefully

Which is more important – getting your kids outside or having them read a book?? Why not do both! With help from Pilot Club of Valdese, FVR is applying for a grant to make our temporary Story Trail permanent.

How it all started: FVR (with the help of The Mercer Family) donated 25 conservation themed children’s books to the Valdese Library in Feb 2020 to start a monthly Conservation Kids program. Then covid hit and the program never started. In the fall, FVR had some outdoor pop-up kid reading events as a try at the program, but with many still having concerns, attendance was low.

About the same time, FVR President Beth Heile saw where a local town was putting pages of a book in store fronts to bring shoppers to town. She thought the same thing could be done at Valdese Lakeside Park. To replace the pop-up group book events, in December 2020, FVR started the temporary story trail that families could visit at their convenience, and socially distance. It was a huge hit and families were begging for a new book each week. After 4 months, the park main entrance was closed for construction, but FVR picked up the Story Trail again in February 2022. Continue reading “Story Trail Permanent – Hopefully”

The Gap is Bridged

l-r: Paul Mears, Valdese Council; Brian Strong, NC State Parks Deputy Director; Rexanna Lowman, Valdese Council; Frances Hildebran, Valdese Council; Beth Heile, Friends of the Valdese Rec President; Reid Wilson, NC Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources; Will Summer, NC Land and Water Fund Director, Charlie Watts, Valdese Mayor; David Andersen, Valdese Parks and Recreation Director

On a humid July morning, trail supporters gathered to celebrate the connection of Valdese Lakeside Park and McGalliard Falls Park with a new 160-foot bridge creating a 2 mile greenway trail. Continue reading “The Gap is Bridged”

Dog Park Grand Opening

Dogs can now run free in Valdese – at least in the new quarter acre Dog Park. At the park’s grand opening, sixty dogs frolicked freely in the grass as more than 100 people watched. The opening was the culmination of Friends of the Valdese Rec’s efforts over the past 18 months with fundraising and managing contractors. Continue reading “Dog Park Grand Opening”