Burke River Trail

Objective: Create the Burke River Trail along the Catawba River from Rocky Ford at Lenoir Rd/US 64/NC 18 in Morganton (end of the current Catawba River Greenway) through Drexel, Valdese, Rutherford College, Connelly Springs, Rhodhiss, Hildebran and Long View. Catawba County could pick it up from there.

Early Proposed Routes. Map created by Shane Prisby. Routes are not based off of topography or other factors – just connecting properties together to asses feasibility. Purple-Green-Pink is the top choice. Does not show entire route to Catawba County.

Background: Trails generate economic activity, provide bike and pedestrian transportation, improve citizen health and are better for the environment than other development options. Western Burke County sees these benefits from hosting the Catawba River Greenway, the Fonta Flora State Trail and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. Eastern Burke County’s small towns need these same opportunities. The Catawba River is a perfect feature for a trail to follow while reaching many of the eastern communities.

Segments: Regional trails are often built in segments as stakeholders along the path are able to contribute and as right of ways are obtained. With Valdese Lakeside Park’s 2-mile greenway being engineered, one segment can be announced – McGalliard Falls Park to Valdese Lakeside Park. Growing from there to the east, the potential exists to work with Burke County BOE and Draughn High School and then Natural Land Alliance, Inc.

Valdese Segment: The 2-mile greenway connecting McGalliard Falls Park to Valdese Lakeside Park is partially funded and being engineered (green dashed and green line). Trails exist north of DHS and National Land Alliance is interested in the trail coming onto their property. (Solid color lines are existing trails in VLP, dashed lines are DHS trails)

Stakeholders – Eastern Burke County Trail Alliance: Burke County, Towns along Route, WPCOG, Friends of the Valdese Rec, Foothills Conservancy of NC, Natural Land Alliance, Inc, Property Owners, Burke County Tourism, Burke County Public Schools, Draughn High School.

Action Items

  • Representative Blackwell contacted Burke County and WPCOG for direction (Jan-Feb 2020)
  • Initial Map created by Shane Prisby, Burke County (Jan 2020)
  • WPCOG Planners Alison Adams and John Wear and Beth Heile, FVR created list of stakeholders and developed starting plan (Apr 2020)
  • Letter sent to 3 owners of 5 tracts along possible route to share trail objective – Beth Heile, FVR (May 2020)
  • E-mail sent to town managers about trail – Beth Heile, FVR (May 2020)
  • WPCOG will hold stakeholders meeting in July – John Wear, WPCOG will organize/lead
  • Meeting at VLP – present: Doug Setzer – BCPS Director of Auxililary Services, Wendi Craven – BCPS Board of Education, Averi Ritchie – WPCOG Planner, Larry Bragg – Natural Land Alliance, Representative Hugh Blackwell, Scott Carpenter – Deputy Burke County Manager, Doug Knight – Valdese Parks and Recreation Director, Shane Gardner – Principal DHS, Doug Hallyburton – Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, Beth Heile – Friends of the Valdese Rec (June 22, 2020) Summary
  • Pre-Stakeholders Meeting to review maps – Todd Stroupe, John Wear, Averi Ritchie, Alsion Adams, Taylor Dellinger, Beth Heile – July 1
  • Stakeholders Meeting – July 29th at 10am