Outdoor Recreation Economy Plan for Valdese

Friends of the Valdese Rec and Town of Valdese worked together to submit a technical assistance planning grant from Appalachian Regional Commission and the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The program is called “Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE)” and the goal is to help rural communities leverage natural assets to increase economic opportunity through the outdoor recreation economic sector. ARC/NC Commerce facilitator Kyle Case led a local working group in developing a plan for Town of Valdese. The process included 4 in person meetings with the working group, a community survey about recreation use and spending (114 results) and 6 phone interviews with members in the community very involved in outdoor recreation.

Town of Valdese Council adopted the plan at the July 10 Council Meeting. Read the plan – Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies Strategic Plan

Continue reading “Outdoor Recreation Economy Plan for Valdese”

Painting for Kids Grant

Thanks to a grant from Burke Youth Organized Philanthropists, 36 children (K-5) will learn the art of Plein Air Painting from a professional instructor at the kick off of the Valdese Plein Air Fest during Friends of the Valdese Rec’s Free Family Fun at the Falls. En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air”, and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view.  Kids will take home a completed 8×10 canvas board painting and their extra paints. Photographs will be taken of their work, printed and placed along the Story Book Trail at Valdese Lakeside Park for a “gallery showing” in time for the adult artists’ show on September 17 at the Old Rock School.

Taking place on September 9 at 10:30 am this year, the annual FVR Free Family Fun at the Falls has attendance of approximately 200 people for crafts, outdoor educational programs and hot dogs. Kids will move from activity to activity 10:30 until 11:30 am. The painting lessons start at 11:00am for those present and interested. Located at 1400 Falls Road in Valdese the park includes a picnic shelter, restrooms, volleyball court, creek and the beautiful McGalliard Falls. It is also a terminus for the 2-mile Valdese Greenway.

In 2022 Friends of the Valdese Rec, Rock School Arts Foundation, and Town of Valdese started the Plein Air Fest to highlight Valdese parks and introduce park goers to art. In planning for the 2023 event, organizers wanted to include children. The art lesson, starting at 11:00 am on September 9 is one way kids are being included, the other is a free Chalk it Up sidewalk chalk art event from 2 -4 pm at the Valdese Family Splash Park, 312 Massel Ave SE. Continue reading “Painting for Kids Grant”

Economic Impact

View the full Economic Impact Report here

Highlights of the report…….

What does Valdese Lakeside Park bring to Valdese in visitor and resident spending? Does the park save residents money? Do visitors really stop in town to eat?

These are the questions Friends of the Valdese Rec set out to answer. The economic impact of parks and trails can sometimes be understated. Thanks to FVR board member Zakk Heile, the value Valdese Lakeside Park brings to Valdese can be shown in numbers.

The Economic Impact Study looked at these areas

  1. Spending in Valdese solely due to a park visit (broken out into gas, food/drink, shopping)
  2. Tax Revenue for Town of Valdese (Property and Sales)
  3. Resident Savings (Health or Transportation Costs)

Continue reading “Economic Impact”

Valdese Greenway Complete

Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR) held an NC Year of the Trail grand opening group walk on Sunday, April 16 to celebrate the completion of the Valdese Greenway. The entire 2-mile greenway is now crushed cinder for an easier walk along Lake Rhodhiss and McGalliard Creek. In 2021, one mile of the former grassy sewer easement was upgraded while the other mile remained grass. In 2022, with the McGalliard Creek Suspension Bridge installation it became obvious upgrading the entire path was the next amenity most desired by park attendees. Friends of the Valdese Rec raised the $250K needed for improvement with donations from the Rostan Family Foundation, NC State Grant assisted by Rep Hugh Blackwell, Dianne Searcy and many individual and small business donors.

Continue reading “Valdese Greenway Complete”

Story Book Trail Ribbon Cutting

Just in time for Read Across America Day, and to celebrate NC Year of the Trail, Friends of the Valdese Rec held the ribbon cutting for their new Story Book Trail at Valdese Lakeside Park. The home school community was invited to take part in the celebration that included walking the new trail that showcased the Dr. Suess book The Lorax, and crafts and refreshments with The Lorax theme. The Story Book Trail is made up of 16 pedestals that hold pages of a book giving visitors the chance to read and be out in nature. The pedestals were made possible with a $3840.00 grant from the Community Foundation of Burke County, a $1,000.00 donation from the Pilot Club of Valdese, $1,000.00 from FVR including 10 volunteers working 4 days to install the pedestals. In addition, FVR will purchase and update the book each month. To experience the trail, visit Valdese Lakeside Park at 1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr, Valdese. Once there, take the Greenway to the Meditation Point Trail that is just past the Dog Park.

Continue reading “Story Book Trail Ribbon Cutting”

VLP Survey Results

From Jan 30 to Feb 27, 2023, FVR collected information via a Google Survey form about Valdese Lakeside Park. The link was provided on our web site, on Facebook and at our events. We had 82 responses from the following areas: 39 Valdese, 8 Morganton, 8 Connelly Springs, 6 Rutherford College area, 5 Granite Falls, 3 Hickory and one each from Drexel, Old Fort, Vale, Banner Elk, China Grove, Concord.

Thanks to everyone who participated that will help understand how the park is being used and what is needed. Here are the results:

Continue reading “VLP Survey Results”

Discover Valdese Suspension Bridge

160 Foot Suspension Bridge along 2 mile Valdese Greenway

Sunday, March 12 at 2pm

As a part of Discover Burke Trails Day and NC Year of the Trail, Friends of the Valdese Rec will host a group hike along the easy, mostly flat 2 mile greenway. Sunday, March 12 at 2pm, starting at Valdese Lakeside Park (1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr, Valdese), the group will walk along Lake Rhodhiss with amazing views of the lake and Table Rock, changing to McGalliard Creek Cove views until reaching the 160 foot Suspension Bridge at 1.3 miles.

McGalliard Falls

After experiencing the bridge, hikers can turn back (for a total of 2.6 miles) or continue on to McGalliard Falls Park to see the 200 foot wide, 40 foot tall water fall (2 miles from Valdese Lakeside Park – and return trip will put you at 4 miles).

Dogs on a leash are welcome on the hike.

Valdese Lakeside Park has restrooms, picnic tables, dog park, Story Book Trail, and almost 11 miles of hiking/biking. There is also plenty to do in Downtown Valdese.

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”