Outdoors Briefs

New trails coming to Old Fort

A grant from Dogwood Health Trust will fund the first 6 of 42 planned miles of new, accessible trails in the Pisgah National Forest near Old Fort, with a pair of community input sessions coming up in December.

The G5 Trail Collective, a trail maintenance and advocacy group embraced by a diverse coalition of nonprofits, individuals and businesses, received the $489,800 grant to further equitable access to the trail system and improve the economy in Old Fort. By August 2022, 6 miles of multi-use trails — as well as a parking lot, project management, signage and outreach to engage a diversity of trail users — should be up and running. Groundbreaking is expected in January. 

The U.S. Forest Service has formally approved plans for all 42 miles of trails following a series of open community forums with frequent and in-depth feedback. More than $200,000 from People on the Move for Old Fort, IMBA, Kitsbow and other private systems paid for the first phase of planning. 

Over the past two years, more than 110 jobs and careers have bloomed because of existing trails and the promise of additional recreation use within walking and biking distance of downtown Old Fort. In addition to construction funds awarded to the G5 Trail Collective, Eagle Market Street Development Corporation received $280,000 from the Dogwood Health Trust to expand services in Old Fort to support small business and equitable development.

The coalition will continue the community-led process as the project moves into construction, and community meetings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, and 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. Learn more at g5trailcollective.org/oldfort.

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