New Year’s Resolution Trail Runs

Usually, we have our New Year’s Resolution Runs on New Year’s Day. However, January 1, 2023 fell on a Sunday. So, we gave Saturday, December 31, 2022 a chance and it was the biggest race yet!! Even in the rain. It was a great way to kick off NC Year of the Trail a day early. Thanks to our race sponsors!

365 Mile Challenge

Challenge yourself in 2023 to get out on a Valdese Trail!! #FVR365
(Registration Closed)

Walk. Run. Hike. 365 Miles in 365 Days.

  • $10 Registration
  • Long Sleeve t-shirt at beginning
  • Prizes for completing 365 miles
  • Everyone will be able to see your progress
  • Get miles in Valdese (parks, streets, treadmill) – as much as possible
  • January 1 – December 31, 2023


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. Continue reading “Valdese becoming a Trail Town!”

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”

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”

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”