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fonta flora state trail master plan lake james to morganton


FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL

PRODUCED BY:

PRODUCED FOR:

LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

DESTINATION BY DESIGN PLANNING, LLC 815 W. KING STREET, SUITE 2 BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA 28607 828.386.1866 WWW.DBDPLANNING.COM


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS BURKE COUNTY

CITY OF MORGANTON DEVELOP-

Jeffrey C. Brittain, PE, Chairman

MENT AND DESIGN SERVICES

Johnnie Carswell, Vice Chairman

Phillip Lookadoo, AICP, Director

Maynard M. Taylor, Commissioner

Mark Young, PE, City Engineer

Wayne F. Abele, Commissioner

Michael Berley, Project Designer

Scott Mulwee, Commissioner Bryan Steen, County Manager Scott Carpenter, AICP, Deputy County

FONTA FLORA BREWERY Todd Boera, Co-Owner and Head Brewer

Manager & Community Development

Mark Bennett, Co-Owner

Director

David Bennett, Co-Owner

Shane Prisby, Community Development Operations Manager NATIONAL PARK SERVICE John Slaughter, Group Superintendent, Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group Benjamin Richardson, Chief of Planning and Partnerships, Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group


TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

1

Purpose and Background………………………………………………………… 2

CHAPTER 3: TRAIL CHARACTER & DESIGN GUIDELINES

29

Previous Planning Efforts………………………………………………………… 3

Sustainable Trail Design………………………………………………………… 30

Vision Statement………………………………………………………………………… 4

Trail Construction…………………………………………………………………… 32

Trail Benefits……………………………………………………………………………… 5

Trail Types………………………………………………………………………………… 33

Plan Organization……………………………………………………………………… 6

Trail Profile……………………………………………………………………………… 36

CHAPTER 1: EXISTING CONDITIONS, ANALYSIS, & PRELIMINARY ALIGNMENTS

7

Study Area Description……………………………………………………………… 8

Trail Support Facilities…………………………………………………………… 38 Social Media Marketing…………………………………………………………… 41

CHAPTER 4: RECOMMENDATIONS

43

Study Area Major Features………………………………………………………… 9

Planning Sections Overview…………………………………………………… 44

Natural Environment……………………………………………………………… 10

Trail Section Recommendations…………………………………………… 46

Cultural Resources…………………………………………………………………… 12 Built Environment…………………………………………………………………… 13 Preliminary Route Alternatives: Map & Photo Series…………… 17

CHAPTER 2: LANDOWNER OUTREACH

25

CHAPTER 5: IMPLEMENTATION

69

Implementation Details by Section and Responsibility………… 70 Priority Implementation Areas and Responsibilities…………… 71 Trail Rubicon…………………………………………………………………………… 71

Identifying the Landowners…………………………………………………… 26

Trail Support Spectrum…………………………………………………………… 73

Landowner Workshop…………………………………………………………… 27

Trail Management…………………………………………………………………… 74

Trail Route Re-evaluation………………………………………………………… 28

APPENDIX I (A-1) Implementation Budget…………………………………………………… II (A2) Funding Sources……………………………………………………………… III


LIST OF MAPS Map 1: General Study Area………………………………………………………… 8 Map 2: Study Area 1 Site Analysis…………………………………………… 18 Map 3: Study Area 2 Site Analysis………………………………………… 20 Map 4: Study Area 3 Site Analysis………………………………………… 22 Map 5: Landowner Parcels……………………………………………………… 26 Map 6: Trail Route Re-Evaluation…………………………………………… 28 Map 7: Planning Sections ……………………………………………………… 44 Map 8: Planning Section 1……………………………………………………… 47 Map 9: Planning Section 2……………………………………………………… 59 Map 10: Planning Section 3…………………………………………………… 63 Map 11: Planning Section 4……………………………………………………… 65


LIST OF EXHIBITS EXHIBIT 1: Brewing Up Adventure………………………………………… 49 EXHIBIT 2: Canal Bridge………………………………………………………… 50 EXHIBIT 3: Canal Bridge Trailhead………………………………………… 52 EXHIBIT 5: Lake James Family Campground………………………… 54 EXHIBIT 5: N. Powerhouse Crossing……………………………………… 55 EXHIBIT 6: Bridgewater………………………………………………………… 56 EXHIBIT 7: Off the Road Again @ Powerhouse…………………… 60 EXHIBIT 8: Watermill River Access Enhancements……………… 62 EXHIBIT 9: Get Down with the Trail Town……………………………… 66


IN T R O D U C T I O N A N D B A C K G R OUN D THE EASTERN-MOST SEGMENT OF THE FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL EXTENDS FROM LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON.

This trail master plan serves as a road map for establishing the Fonta Flora State Trail from Lake James, in Burke County, to the City of Morganton.

IN THIS CHAPTER:

This chapter provides an overview of previous

A| PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND

planning efforts and their goals.

B| PREVIOUS PLANNING EFFORTS C| VISION STATEMENT D| TRAIL BENEFITS E| PLAN ORGANIZATION

1


PURPOSE & BACKGROUND The Fonta Flora State Trail finds its origins in the desires of Burke County citizens to increase quality of life for residents, provide a recreational amenity for visitors and the region’s diverse population, and provide public access to the area’s cultural and natural resources. In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation to establish the Fonta Flora State Trail. Upon completion, the proposed trail will extend from Asheville to Morganton connecting Marion, Old Fort, and Black Mountain.

complete Section 2 of the state trail. Also in 2017, Burke County opened a new trailhead featuring custom trail facilities and artistic signage. Additionally, a master plan is currently in development for Section 3 from Lake James to Marion.

Trail (OVNHT). Financial resources will be released from Duke Energy now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the company’s re-licensing to operate its hydroelectric power plants along the Catawba River.

Financial support from Duke Energy continues to advance the project with $1.1 million in grants committed to the development of the Fonta Flora State Trail and Overmountain Victory National Historic

This plan addresses Section 1 of the Fonta Flora State Trail from Lake James to Morganton. This section is unique in that it coincides with a segment of the OVNHT.

Burke County is a leading agency in the establishment of the Fonta Flora State Trail. Following the adoption of a master plan in 2016, the County partnered with the NC Division of State Parks and Duke Energy to complete 10 miles of trail in 2017. The County is now beginning construction on another 10 miles that will eventually encircle Lake James to

LEGISLATION WAS SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOVERNOR MCCRORY IN SUMMER 2015 THAT MAKES THE FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL THE LATEST ADDITION TO NORTH CAROLINA’S STATE PARK SYSTEM. 2

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

PLANNING SECTIONS 1

MORGANTON >> LAKE JAMES

5

OLD FORT DEPOT >> BLACK MOUNTAIN DEPOT

2 3 4

LAKE JAMES

6

BLACK MOUNTAIN DEPOT >> WARREN WILSON COLLEGE

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WARREN WILSON COLLEGE >> ASHEVILLE

LAKE JAMES >>MARION MARION >> OLD FORT DEPOT


PREVIOUS PLANNING EFFORTS Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail Master Plan (OVNHT): Lake James to Morganton In 2015, Burke County developed a comprehensive trail master plan for the OVNHT along the Catawba River corridor from Lake James to Morganton. The National Park Service provided financial assistance for plan development. The OVNHT overlaps with the southern portion of the FFST at Lake James and as the trail extends to Morganton. Portions of the trail systems at both Lake James and the Catawba River Greenway in Morganton are certified as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The OVNHT Lake James to Morganton Master Plan serves as the foundation of the Fonta Flora State Trail Lake James to Morganton Master Plan. ņ   

       

keep the story alive

overmountain victory national historic trail master plan

LAKE JAMES

MORGANTON

SUMMER 2015

Fonta Flora State Trail Master Plan: Lake James Section The Fonta Flora State Trail Master Plan: Lake James Section was completed in 2016. The plan provided a major update to fonta flora state trail master plan lake james section the Lake James Loop Trail Master Plan published by Burke County in 2014. This section of the Fonta Flora State Trail will ultimately encircle Lake James with a continuous 30-mile stateof-the-art hiking and biking nature trail. As a state trail, the loop is now under the purview of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation as an official unit of the State Parks system. BURKE COUNTY, NC UPDATED SPRING, 2016

Lake James Loop Trail Master Plan Since 2005, the LAKE JAMES LOOP TRAIL Burke County PlanMASTER PLAN ning Department 2014 has led efforts to plan for and establish a loop trail around Lake James that would provide for a family and leisure trail experience while protecting the natural environment. LAKE JAMES LOOP TRAIL MASTER PLAN

In early 2013, the Burke County Community Development Director began a new planning effort to jumpstart the Loop Trail initiative and promoted the project to the top of the department’s priority list. In September 2013, a diverse stakeholder work group met to begin creating the Lake James Loop Trail Master Plan to serve as a guide for the development, management, and implementation of the trail. The Lake James Loop Trail Master Plan, published in 2014, outlined an easy to moderate 30 mile multiuse hiking and biking trail with a natural mineral soil surface. The plan recommended an average trail width of five feet wide and overall average grade of 5% or less.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

3


VISION STATEMENT The Fonta Flora State Trail will provide pedestrians and bicyclists of all abilities a safe and legal route that will eventually extend from Morganton to Asheville. The trail will allow users to experience the natural diversity of the area, incorporate multiple access points and support facilities, create a community and regional asset that will provide for recreation opportunities for local residents and visitors, and promote tourism and low-cost economic development for Burke County and the surrounding region.

PLAN GOALS 1

Refined and Specific Trail Routes. Using the 2015 OVNHT Lake James to Morganton Master Plan as its foundation, this plan further refines the trail route to reflect new opportunities and re-engages landowners.

STATE TRAILS WHAT IS A STATE TRAIL? The State Parks Act (GS 113-44.9) defines the types of units in the NC State Parks System to include State Parks, State Natural Areas, State Recreation Areas, State Trails, State Rivers and State Lakes. Fonta Flora is a State Trail. The difference between a State Park and a State Trail is that a State Park is operated and managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation, but a State Trail represents a partnership among multiple agencies, landowners and local governments, working together to implement a shared vision. Working together on a connected State Trail is a way for communities to leverage their investments in trails to maximize the value for their citizens. Sections of a State Trail on state park property may be managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation, but sections of the trail that cross property controlled by others will continue to be built, maintained and managed by those other landowners. A State Trail is comprised of multiple connected sections, and each section of the trail is sponsored by a state or federal agency, local government, or landowner. Overall trail corridor planning and coordination are the responsibility of the Division of Parks and Recreation, but each section of the trail will be planned, built and managed in accordance with the needs and wishes of each local section sponsor. DPR will provide guidance, coordination and assistance for the multiple section sponsors whose individual and diverse sections link together to form the State Trail.

2

Landowner Outreach. Make a direct appeal to landowners identified

3

Trail Character. Develop designs and trail support facilities that incorporate both the OVNHT and FFST brands.

SECTION – A portion of the trail within the jurisdictional boundaries of a single agency or organization, who serves as the sponsor of that section.

4

Visual Plan. Create a visual plan that utilizes renderings and schematics to demonstrate trail character.,

SECTION SPONSOR – Any agency or organization that owns the land the trail utilizes and that enters into an agreement with the Division of Parks and Recreation to maintain their section of trail as a part of the State Trail. The section sponsor, in coordination with adjoining section sponsors, is responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and management of the trail within their section, including its location, appearance, surface, uses, and amenities. Section sponsors retain authority on lands under their jurisdiction. Section sponsors are encouraged to showcase places of natural, scenic, historic, and cultural significance; to feature the diversity of natural communities and landscapes in the state; and to consider the needs of both long and short distance trail users.

4

during the analysis and record their sentiment for providing a trail easement.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


TRAIL BENEFITS

ECONOMIC There is no question that countless communities across America have experienced significant economic growth from a result of trail and greenway infrastructure. Below are a few examples of such impacts: Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts (2011) • Evaluated 58 separate projects in 11 cities • Multi-use trails (e.g., greenways) create 9.6 jobs per $1 million invested East Central Florida Regional Planning Council; Economic impact of Orange County trails (2013) • Little Econ Greenway (7.4 miles); West Orange (20 miles); and Cady Way Trails (7.2 miles) in Orange County, Florida • Supported 516 jobs and had an estimated positive economic impact of $42.6 million on the area • Nearby Downtown Winter Garden (pop. 37k) = $14.6M Revenues Year 3 Economic Impact of Swamp Rabbit Trail (2014) • Swamp Rabbit = 20 miles (Greenville, NC to Travelers Rest) • $6.7 Million Virginia Creeper Trail, Damascus, VA • 34 mile rail-trail • Direct economic impact approximately $3 million a year

HEALTH Trails and greenways provide an attractive, safe, and accessible low- or nocost place to walk, hike, jog, or bicycle. More parks and green spaces lead directly to more physical activity by citizens. This gives people of all ages an opportunity to incorporate exercise into their daily routines.

ENVIRONMENTAL Trails and greenways protect important habitat, improve water quality, and provide corridors for wildlife. By protecting land along rivers and streams, greenways help filter pollution caused by agricultural and road runoff. These areas can often serve as natural floodplains. Also, trails and greenways can serve as hands-on environmental classrooms.

EDUCATIONAL The Fonta Flora State Trail will provide for a variety of educational opportunities. A significant portion of the trail will pass through Lake James State Park, which will provide an educational experience about natural habitats and native flora and fauna from throughout the region. Since this trail coincides with portions of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, users have the opportunity to learn about the Overmountain Men and their impact on the Revolutionary War. Other opportunities exist to learn about hydroelectric dams, bicycle safety, wilderness medicine, and search and rescue.

RECREATIONAL The recreational benefits offered by the Fonta Flora State Trail will complement existing opportunities found in the area at Lake James State Park, NCWRC Game Lands, Linville Gorge, Catawba River, and adjoining US Forest Service lands. The Fonta Flora State Trail will anchor a host of recreation offerings. Foremost, this trail offers the unique opportunity to separate automobiles from cyclists to circumnavigate the Lake, thereby creating a safe and scenic destination for cycling enthusiasts. This plan also calls for a new boat launch, camping and cabin facilities, fishing access areas, and over 25 miles of trails, boardwalks, and bridges. All of these additional recreational opportunities will be beneficial for personal, community, and business development.

TRANSPORTATION Trails and greenways serve as a crucial element within a regional multi-modal transportation system. These facilities provide efficient and safe connectors among civic, commercial, and residential land uses. The Fonta Flora State Trail will help create these connections and play a central role in establishing a regional trail network that will ultimately include the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Upper Catawba River Trail, and other local connecting trails.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

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PLAN ORGANIZATION

START OF STUDY AREA @WHIPPOORWILL FARM

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CHAPTER 3. TRAIL CHARACTER AND DESIGN GUIDELINES

Old EXISTING CONDITIONS, ANALYSIS, AND PRELIMINARY ALIGNMENTS Cata wba

LANDOWNER OUTREACH

This chapter provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the opportunities and constraints found throughout the study area. The analysis begins with a brief description of the study area followed by a comprehensive discussion of the natural and built environments and their implications for trail suitability, trail design features, permitting, and costs. This chapter concludes with a map and photographic series that highlights a host of preliminary trail route alternatives.

Significant efforts were made to reach out to landowners where the preliminary analysis indicates that the trail is most suitable. This chapter describes the landowner outreach process and provides highlights from the landowner workshop meetings. k

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SECTION 1

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE RD.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL

FUTURE COVE BRIDGE

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LANDOWNER SENTIMENT

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE COMPLETED FFST

FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

#

TRAILHEAD

YES

ROAD CROSSING

NO

This chapter is organized according to four (4) planning sections. Each planning section description includes a map that identifies a preferred alignment. Each planning section further incorporates the analysis and design elements from the previous chapters along with a host of supporting renderings and design schematics. #

PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

MAJOR BRIDGE

POSITIVE

NO RESPONSE

PUBLIC LAND

EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE

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FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

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This chapter is dedicated to visually defining the various trail types to be used throughout the corridor. Design concepts are provided for trail user orientation signage, mile markers, and other support facilities. Social Media is explored as a mechanism for trail promotion and marketing.

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CHAPTER 5. IMPLEMENTATION This chapter summarizes details for each planning section and establishes responsibilities and priorities for trail implementation. Additionally, this chapter identifies focus areas for development that will serve as catalyst projects for completing the trail.


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EXISTIN G C OND ITIO N S , A N A LYS I S , A N D P R E L I MIN A R Y A LIGN MEN T S THIS SECTION OF THE FONTA FLORA STATE IN THIS CHAPTER: The analysis begins with a brief description of the study area followed by a comprehensive

TRAIL HAS A SIGNIFICANT NATURAL AND CULTURAL HISTORY INCLUDING A SHARED ALIGNMENT WITH THE OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL.

discussion of the natural and built environments

and cultural resources and their implications for

A| STUDY AREA DESCRIPTION

trail suitability, design features, permitting, and

B| STUDY AREA MAJOR FEATURES

costs. This chapter concludes with a map and

C| NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

photographic series that highlights a host of

D| CULTURAL RESOURCES

preliminary trail route alternatives.

E| BUILT ENVIRONMENT F| PRELIMINARY ROUTE ALTERNATIVES: MAP & PHOTO SERIES

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STUDY AREA

MAP 1: GENERAL STUDY AREA

STUDY AREA DESCRIPTION ORK

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FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

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EXISTING OVNHT

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GLEN ALPINE MUDDY

CREEK

nancial support for the FFST and OVNHT.

a series of river access areas throughout the study area, serves as a foundation for the river’s recreation offerings. Land parcels become smaller as the corridor continues toward the City of Morganton before reaching the 3.8-mile Catawba River Greenway, which is officially designated as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.

The planning corridor follows the Catawba River east, transitioning to a mix of large tracts of privately owned land and residential subdivisions. Located on

The FFST extends from the Catawba River Greenway to downtown Morganton via a future greenway connector planned by the City of Morganton.

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FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

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THE LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON FFST STUDY AREA IS ONE MILE WIDE AND EXTENDS APPROXIMATELY 20 MILES FROM THE FONTA FLORA BREWERY AT WHIPPOORWILL FARM TO DOWNTOWN MORGANTON.

S ITTLE

L Brewery at Whippoorwill Starting at the Fonta Flora Farm adjacent to Lake James State Park, the corridor extends east through large tracts of rural agricultural land primarily owned by two landowners: Duke Energy and Crescent Resources, which continue to part0 0.5 1 2 MI. 40 ner with Burke County to provide easements and fi-

SILVER CREEK

the south side of the Catawba River is Glen Alpine, a small municipality whose jurisdiction intersects with portions of the study area. BA

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

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The Lake James to Morganton FFST study area is one BA RIVER and extends approximately 20 miles from CATAWwide mile 70 the Fonta Flora Brewery at Whippoorwill Farm on Highway 126 to Downtown Morganton. ILVER CREEK

MORGANTON


STUDY AREA MAJOR FEATURES LAKE JAMES

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK

Lake James is a large reservoir located in the foothills of Western North Carolina which straddles the border between Burke and McDowell Counties. This 6,812 acre impoundment was created between 1916 and 1923 to produce hydroelectric power for the small towns of Marion and Morganton. Low density zoning requirements help to ensure that areas around the lake will be carefully managed and developed. Lake James offers residents and visitors opportunities to boat, fish, swim, and participate in other water-based activities.

Lake James State Park is one of the most recent additions to the North Carolina State Parks system. It was established in 1987 by the North Carolina General Assembly when funds were appropriated for the purchase of 565 acres of land and the initial phase of facility development in McDowell County. In 2004, Lake James State Park acquired an additional 2,915 acre tract from Crescent Resources Inc. in Burke County. This purchase expanded the state park to six times its former size and protected more than 30 miles of shoreline. The state park offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, nature observation, swimming, and canoeing. A section of the Fonta Flora State Trail that is currently under construction will meander through the park and provide trail users the opportunity to take advantage of traditional state park facilities and services.

Lake James contains 10.2 square miles of surface area and more than 150 miles of shoreline. The average depth of the Lake is 65 feet with a maximum recorded depth of 120 feet. At an elevation of approximately 1,200 feet, Lake James is located within the Catawba River basin.

OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT) is part of the National Park Service’s National Trails System. It recognizes the patriot militia from Virginia, Tenneessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina who crossed the Appalachian Mountains to fight and win at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War in present-day South Carolina. The trail network consists of a 272-mile corridor, including a 70-mile branch from Elkin, North Carolina, that joins the main route at Morganton, North Carolina. Sixty-five miles of OVNHT are officially developed for public use, and development continues on the remaining sections. The official sections of the trail were established through agreements with landowners and land managers and often have overlapping designations. All officially certified segments are identified by signs displaying the trail logo (an Overmountain man in profile on a brown and white triangle) or a white triangular blaze. This master plan proposes a shared alignment of the FFST and OVNHT from Lake James to the Catawba River Greenway in Morganton, a certified segment of the OVNHT. Currently, 5.5 miles of OVNHT are certified in Burke County. Based on this master plan and the OVNHT companion plan for the same study area, approximately 20 new miles along the Catawba River could be completed. The OVNHT is a cooperative effort of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Overmountain Victory Trail Association, local governments, local citizens’ associations, local historical societies, and the states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

9


NATURAL ENVIRONMENT STEEP SLOPES

WETLANDS AND HYDRIC SOILS

CATAWBA RIVER

Much of the corridor has gently rolling topography. The most challenging slopes are along the banks of the Catawba River near the Glen Alpine area and Lake James. The trail should be designed for grades under 5% slope when possible. Natural surface trails can vary up to 10% slope while maintaining sustainable design. Alignments proposed in this plan should be designed with these guidelines and may require a larger corridor to incorporate a more

The study area includes several wetland areas as identified on the National Wetland Inventory (NWI). According to NWI, there are likely smaller wetland areas within the study corridor that are not indicated within their inventory that could impact final trail alignments. Hydric soils in combination with wetland plant species and wetland hydrology are considered indicators of a wetland, which require costly permitting if impacted2.

The Catawba River (named after the Native American tribe that first settled on its banks) is a tributary of the Wateree River in the states of North and South Carolina. The river is approximately 220 miles long and is considered one of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” by the American Rivers organization. The river includes a series of reservoirs for flood control and hydroelectricity and provides drinking water to millions of residents.

STREAMS, LAKES, AND PONDS

The headwaters of the Catawba River begin in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western McDowell County approximately 20 miles east of Asheville. The Catawba joins the Linville River and forms Lake James. The river then extends east and south, flowing through other impoundments near Morganton, Hickory, and Mooresville on its way to Lake Norman. From Lake Norman it flows south, passing west of Charlotte, before entering Lake Wylie, where it forms approximately ten miles of the border between North and South Carolina. The Catawba River continues through South Carolina before joining the Wateree River, which spills into the Atlantic Ocean.

gradual trail grade.

FLOODPLAINS Floodplain areas provide both an opportunity and constraint for trail development. Since traditional development is often not suitable within floodplain areas, private landowners may be more willing to provide access for public trails within these areas. Also, these scenic areas attract wildlife, which creates an engaging trail experience. Within this study area, much of the floodplain areas along the Catawba River corridor are ideal for greenway development.

The County, State, and Federal government regulate the many waterbodies found throughout the study area3. The Catawba River is the dominant waterway within this corridor. Canoe Creek, located to the west of Morganton, is a tributary of the Catawba that serves as a possible trail corridor.

Although development is regulated within the floodplain, greenways and trails are allowed and can be permitted. Sound trail engineering techniques are necessary to ensure trails can sustain flooding. To the extent possible, greenway alignments should be avoided within the floodway1. Avoid disturbance in the floodway. Avoid placement of structures or disturbance within the floodway. Floodways are regulated locally and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Fill, structures (walls, kiosks, etc), and impervious services are discouraged. Any structures located within the floodway require a no-impact/no-rise certification through FEMA. These studies can vary on cost but can range from $2,500-$15,000 depending on complexity.

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If wetlands are unavoidable, utilize elevated boardwalk systems. Boardwalks allow for travel over flat, poorly draining soils, standing water, and wetland features and have significantly less impact than other options. A section 404 (Clean Water Act) Permit may be required if the wetland is considered jurisdictional by the USACE. This means that the wetland is not isolated and part of a broader lake or water system. A small boardwalk for a non-isolated wetland with limited fill or dredging may qualify for a programmatic Nationwide Permit. Nationwide Permits are designed to streamline the permitting process for actions with limited disturbances. In addition to permitting, disturbances exceeding a tenth ( 0.1) of an acre would require mitigation which can increase project costs. Impacts under a tenth (0.1) of an acre do not trigger mitigation fees.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

Maintain a 50-foot buffer from all waterways, particularly those regulated under the Catawba River Buffer Rules. The state requires a 50-foot buffer along the shorelines of Catawba River and associated lakes. Streams within the study area are identified by the State of North Carolina as having poor water quality and maintaining or improving an adequate vegetated buffer is crucial to improving the quality. Zone 1 of this buffer includes an undisturbed 30-foot buffer from top of bank in which trails are discouraged. Zone 2 is an additional 20-foot buffer. This zone allows for managed vegetation and trails and greenways. While trails are an allowable use within Zone 2, the NC Division of Water Quality requires a permit (through DWQ or designated local government). The applicant must show that disturbance has been minimized and no other alternatives exist.

3


RARE FLORA AND FAUNA The State Natural Heritage Program provides data identifying the state’s most sensitive environmental areas to be avoided; these areas are incorporated within the analysis map series at the end of this chapter. Rare flora and fauna species can also exist outside of these designated areas, which can alter final trail alignments prior to construction.

Species identified by the State Natural Heritage Program within this study area include:

Coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is an important aspect of the design process. Involving USFWS early on in the process can help avoid potential planning obstacles related to federally protected species. Additionally, permits2 like Section 401 and 404 will initiate the review of the State Natural Heritage Program database. If species are found within the project area, State or Federal requirements may dictate avoidance or mitigation.

C| Carolina Foothills Crayfish and Eastern Creekshell (see Map 3, found along the Catawba)

A| Dwarf-flowered Heartleaf (see Map 1, found on Duke Energy held lands) B| White Trillium (see Map 2, found in the larger Glen Alpine area)

D| Mountain Golden Heather plant (Lake James area) E| Peregrine Falcon (Lake James area) F| Bald Eagle (Lake James area)

THE NORTH AMERICAN BALD EAGLE FEATHER PROVIDES THE INSPIRATION FOR THE FONTA FLORA LOGO.

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

11


CULTURAL RESOURCES

NATIVE AMERICANS The Catawba River has served as a historic transportation route, cultural connector, and wildlife corridor throughout the area’s history. Early Native Americans in the area identified themselves as the Kawahcatawbas, “the people of the river”. The Catawba and Wateree Tribes used the river for transportation and traded with Spanish explorers at river outposts. The ruins of one of these outposts, Fort San Juan, have been located and excavated in close proximity to the Catawba River in Morganton. Based on Spanish records and archaeological findings, it appears that Fort San Juan was occupied in 1567 and 1568.

12

OVERMOUNTAIN MEN The Catawba River and its tributaries were also followed by Revolutionary War soldiers on their way to the Battle of Kings Mountain, SC in 1780. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail preserves and commemorates the route. The original Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT) route was identified by a National Parks Service research team. The team relied on the 1881 account of the march, which has been amended by local historians, descendants of battle participants, and other sources. As part of this congressionally designated trail, any officially certified portion of the OVNHT must lie within a one-mile corridor (half-mile on either side) of the historic route.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

FONTA FLORA VILLAGE The impoundment of the Catawba River to form Lake James also marks another important moment in history. The local settlement of Fonta Flora, an African American sharecropping village, was flooded in 1916 by the Southern Power Company (predecessor to Duke Energy) to develop Lake James. This community included approximately 100 full-time residents; there are no known photographs or painted pictures of Fonta Flora before it was slowly covered by the rising waters of Lake James.


THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT The opportunities and constraints found within the built and human environment are critical for determining suitable trail locations and feasibility, ideal user experiences, construction costs, and necessary permits. This section highlights four (4) built environmental features and their implications for developing the Fonta Flora State Trail from Lake James to Morganton, including: 1) Land Use; 2) Existing Trails and Parks; 3) Utilities; and 4) Transportation.

LAND USE SNAPSHOT Western Section

Central Section

The City of Morganton

The western extent of the study area is typified by a rural wooded landscape with large tracts of land, many which are owned by Crescent Communities, Duke Energy, NC State Parks, and family trusts. Many of these large tracts are leased as tree and plant nurseries. The fertilization of these crops must be considered when providing for public trails.

The central section of the corridor exhibits a mix of large tracts and small tracts, many which serve second-home owners. Many of the large landowners have owned their property for multiple generations, while smaller tracts have been purchased for retirement or personal retreats. Through the course of landowner outreach, both of these groups described issues with trash and other problems with the general public and river users. This history serves as a barrier for obtaining trail easements.

The City of Morganton’s western edge is typified by single-family residential growth. Pockets of dense land development create a challenge for creating a public trail. The City has successfully acquired property for a greenway connector that will link the Catawba River Greenway to the central business district.

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

13


THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT EXISTING PARKS AND GREENWAYS Burke County and Morganton have a collection of parks and greenways that are ideal for trail connections. Some of these major assets include:

Fonta Flora State Trail: Lake James Loop Ten miles of the Fonta Flora State Trail were completed in 2017, and an additonal 10 miles are currently under construction. When complete, the trail will provide for a complete loop around Lake James.

Canal Bridge Public Access

Watermill River Access

NC Wildlife Resources Commission currently manages the Canal Bridge Public Access which is located near the western terminus of the study area. NCWRC also plans to establish the North Bend public river access at Powerhouse Rd., west of Glen Alpine. Both access areas will be important for trail connectivity.

This public fishing access area near Glen Alpine is owned by Burke County.

City of Morganton Parks and Greenways

OVNHT at Lake James State Park This state park is one of the most significant linkages in the planning corridor and western section of the study area. Two miles of certified OVNHT are located along Paddy Creek in the state park.

14

Bridgewater Fishing Access This public fishing access area and canoe launch is owned by Duke Power, which has plans to further improve the site.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

The City has many parks and greenways to connect, such as the Catawba River Greenway, Freedom Park and Greenway, Catawba Meadows Park, Rocky Ford Access, and the Catawba River Soccer Complex.


UTILITIES The study area has a complex matrix of utilities that include transmission lines, utility towers, water lines, and sewer infrastructure. Both sewer and water lines are indicated on the subsequent map series. However, the maps do not include transmission lines. Locations where the potential trail alignment intersects with sewer or water lines have been indicated on the map and notes (i.e. Canoe Creek). Sewer lines are often compatible with trails since existing easements preclude development. However, the easement will often need to be modified to provide for a public trail.

to accommodate a trail alignment or accommodate a widened shoulder. These opportunities are shown on the Site Analysis Maps with corresponding opportunities and constraints notes. Norfolk Southern has an operational rail on the south side of the Catawba River. If this rail were to ever become abandoned, a significant opportunity would exist to establish a considerable section of trail. The right-of-way and adjacent lands were analyzed as a potential future route, as illustrated in the maps and notes.

TRANSPORTATION The study area analysis includes an extensive review of the existing transportation network including the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) right-of-way (ROW), NCDOT plans, existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure (crosswalks, bike lanes, etc.), railways, and existing greenways. NCDOT’s right-of-way was analyzed for the ability CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

15


MAP AND PHOTO SERIES: PRELIMINARY TRAIL ROUTE ALTERNATIVES The map and photographic series, which spatially incorporates the natural and built environment analysis, highlights a host of preliminary trail route alternatives. These routes were further refined by local leaders to identify and engage landowners. This information will serve as an ongoing reference guide as alternative routes may need to be developed due to unforeseen barriers.

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

17


STUDY AREA 1: SITE ANALYSIS

Municipal Boundaries

Property Lines

Public Health Departments

Existing Trails

Schools

Historic Sites and Ditricts

Local District Center Point Study List (SL)

Schools National Register (NR) of Historic

SL, DOE, and Landmark DOE NRHD Surveyed Surveyed in NRHD Places Site Site Gone Sensitive Cultural Resources

Transportation

National Register Historic District (NRHD)

Bike Route

NRHD Boundary

Roads/Interstates

Study List (SL)

Interstates

SL and Landmark SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

Very High

Inactive Hazardous High Sites

Active & Inactive Landfills Hydrology

3

Lake James

Loop Trail

3

Moderate

BE

NF

LD

Unranked

Wetlands (NWI) Hydric Soils

Element Occurances Waterbodies Plant Streams

Lake James State Park

Ca 2

Floodway

Animal

100-Year Floodplain

Natural Community

500-Year Floodplain

LA

ND

IN

G

Exceptional

Moderate General

re

High

10

HW

DOC

AST

6 WY 12

H

Cata

RD

Quaker Meadows Cemetery, Circa 1767-1879

wba

EE R

OAD

6

26

Rive

Hydric Soils

r

34

31Historic Bridge

8

31

500-Year Floodplain

Ca

7

no

27

31

26

28

Lake James to Morganton Greenway Study

eC

re

ek 32

70

r

ve Ri

STUDY AREA 1

a wb

ta

Ca

Swan Pond (Easement: Historic Preservation Foundation)

TY

MAP 1

28

h

ut

So

RR

126

9 Muddy Creek Historic RR Bridge

NTY

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK

23

8

lk

rfo

No

n er

29

Freedom Park & Greenway

k

Floodway

126

35

ree

Element Occurrence: Carolina Foothills Crayfish, Eastern Creekshell

Flood Zones

Freedom High School

33

Catawba River Soc Complex &Greenway Loo

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN 25

30

Ca

9

7

Waterbodies Streams

36

6

5

100-Year Floodplain

10

37

10

Y1

Old

4 23

Unranked

11

ek

Hydrology

Wetlands (NWI)

38 Quaker Meadows House

30

29

126

U

Element Occurrence:

3

Natural Heritage Areas

Very High

PO

16 12

RD

RD

5

eC 5

Animal Assemblage

N

SE

5

no

Flood Zones

S

HO

ER

W

IE

General

Site Analysis Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

18

SE N

Natural Heritage Areas

Exceptional

OUN LL C OWE

Sewer

Natural Community

Brownfields

U E CO

Waterlines

Catawba River Dam and Truss Bridge

Bridgewater Fishing Access

10

Paddy Creek Dam

2

Animal

MCD

Utilities

Animal Assemblage

K BUR

Local Roads State and County Roads State Roads

Sewer

4

Plant

Private

Lake James Family Campground

yC

Interstates

Active & Inactive Landfills

ed

Roads/Interstates

Waterlines

k

Re

NCDOT Bridge Locations Rail Roads

Local Roads State and County Roads State Roads

Utilities

Element Occurrence:

Inactive Hazardous Sites State Natural Heritage Data

State Natural Heritage Data

NCDOT Bridge Locations Rail Roads

Local District Center Point

14 13

39

ree

Brownfields

Municipal/County SL and Landmark Owned Properties SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

Historic Sites and Ditricts

Bike Route

Lands

Lake James

1

Federal & State Ownership Element Occurances

NRHD Boundary

Colleges and Universities

Transportation

Fishing Access Parks

National Register Historic District (NRHD)

Public Libraries

1

Private Municipal/County Owned Properties

Proposed Trails

NR and Local Landmark Managed

Public Health Departments

SL, DOE, and Landmark DOE NRHD Surveyed Surveyed in NRHD Site Gone Sensitive Cultural Resources

Bridgewater Powerhouse

Federal & State Ownership

Golf Courses National Register (NR) of Historic Places Site

Hospitals

nC

SAINT MARYS CHURCH RD

Golf Courses

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer Managed Lands

Colleges and Universities

Wil so

15

Proposed Trails

Hospitals

Public Libraries

Crescent Resources Properties

NR and Local Landmark

NC 126

OVNHT & Other Recreation Fishing Access Parks Overmountain Victory NH Trail

MAP 2

AD

Civic Landmarks

Duke Energy Properties Civic Landmarks

Lake James State Park

Crescent Resources Properties

Municipal Boundaries

Lake James State Park

BOST RO

County Boundary

MAP 3

Existing Trails

Property Lines Duke Energy Properties

20-Foot Contours

pT rail

MAP 2: STUDY AREA 1 SITE ANALYSIS

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer

Loo

OU

OVNHT & Other Recreation Overmountain Victory NH Trail

20-Foot Contours County Boundary

es

RH

Constraints

am

WE

Opportunities

38

Constraints

38

Connectors

50

Opportunities

50 Connectors

MAP 2

Alignment ‘B’

eJ

PO

Alignment ‘A’

Alignment ‘B’

Lak

LEGEND

LEGEND Alignment ‘A’

START OF STUDY AREA @WHIPPOORWILL FARM

70


STUDY AREA 1: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS Opportunities and Constraints: Lake James (Map 1) OPPORTUNITIES 1 2 3 4

5 6

7

7

8 9 10

11 12 13 14 15 16

Potential Trailhead and improvement area Maintained open meadow Routes utilize private dirt roads Connect to Lake James Family Campground and single-family residential development by paralleling Benfields Landing Road Potential amenable landowner Flat area with potential to use Norfolk Southern right-of-way (around 200-feet) or adjacent private lands for alignment Bridgewater Road could be an excellent connector route or a preferred alignment if one alignment section was determined unfeasible Bridgewater Road hosts a Bed and Breakfast and may have opportunity for greenway related commercial Area is relatively flat Utilize Muddy Creek Historic Rail Road Bridge Potential amenable landowner on north side— alignment could utilize or parallel Corpening Chapel Road Potential amenable landowner on north side— alignment could utilize or parallel Rays Dairy Avenue Alignment parallels private road Potential trailhead at Bridge Water Fishing Access Area Powerhouse Road bridge has ample deck width to allow for on-grade bridge crossing Potential connection to North Powerhouse Road and Lake James Loop Trail Powerhouse Road has 60-feet of right-of-way and is fairly flat through the rest of this area going east

CONSTRAINTS 1

2

3 4

5 6

7

8

9 10

Steep hillside may require greenway alignment to parallel Highway 126 until the crossing of Benfields Landing Road Hwy 126 Bridge has narrow shoulder with railing obstruction for several hundred feet—would likely require a bridge attachment Wetland/low lying area Area has stream crossing and significant fill slope from rail road bed and would require alignment to be in floodway or elevated on a structure At-grade road crossing on Bridgewater Road Bridgewater Road bridge has narrow shoulder and would need to have a bridge attachment or separate pedestrian bridge Rail-bed is on elevated dike and significant fill slope from rail road bed and would require alignment to be in floodway or elevated on a structure Large disturbance area (possible motor cross track) within and adjacent to Norfolk Southern right-ofway Tree farm Sensitive cultural resource areas

7

View of Bridgewater Road flat and steeper areas

14

Approach to Bridgewater Fishing Access Area on Powerhouse Road

5

View of Bridgewater Road and potential ongrade road and railroad crossing

14

View of decking over the Catawba River on Powerhouse Road

Rail dike

ern

uth So olk OW R

rf No

1

View of project terminus on Highway 26 with potential trailhead/enhancement area

10

View of Rays Dairy Avenue and potential onroad or parallel alignment

7

View of Norfolk Southern rail line constrained area

16

View of Riverview Apartments with sewer line easement shown at the right

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

19


MAP 1

LEGEND Alignment ‘A’

50

Opportunities

Alignment ‘B’

38

Constraints

MAP 2

no

STUDY AREA 2

MAP 1

LEGEND

Connectors

Ca

MAP 2

eC

MAP 3: STUDY AREA 2 SITE ANALYSIS

STUDY AREA 2: SITE ANALYSIS ree

k

126 OVNHT & Other Recreation Overmountain Victory NH Trail

20-Foot Contours

Alignment ‘A’

County Boundary

Municipal Boundaries

Alignment ‘B’

Property Lines

Connectors Crescent Resources Properties

Existing Trails

Opportunities

38

Constraints

Lake James

Fishing Access Parks Golf Courses

Civic Landmarks

Hospitals

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer Proposed Trails

Duke Energy Properties

50

Managed Lands

20-Foot Contours

County Colleges and Universities

Boundary

Municipal Boundaries

Schools Historic Sites and Ditricts

Private Municipal/County Owned Properties

Property Lines

Brownfields Inactive Hazardous Sites

Proposed Trails

Active & Inactive Landfills

Fishing Access Parks Golf Courses

Crescent Resources National Register Historic District (NRHD)

Properties State Natural Heritage Data

Local District Center Point

Element Occurances Plant

Study List (SL)

Animal Assemblage

Civic Landmarks

Hospitals Departments

NR and Local Landmark

NCDOT Bridge Locations

Hydric Soils

Interstates

Streams

Boundary

Local District Center Local Roads State and County Roads Study List (SL) State Roads

Point

Waterlines

SL, DOE, and Landmark DOE NRHD Surveyed Surveyed in NRHD Site Gone Sensitive Cultural Resources

Sewer

Floodway 100-Year Floodplain

22

19

19

20 20

Glen Alpine Dump

Brownfields

21

18

Inactive Hazardous Sites

18

22

22

Catawba Ri 21

23

17 17

Swan Pond (Easement: Historic Preservation Foundation)

24

Animal Natural Heritage Areas

Exceptional

Moderate

Very High

General

High

Unranked

19 Glen Alpine Dump

Wetlands (NWI) 16

Hydric Soils 17

Waterbodies

15

Streams Flood Zones

Interstates

100-Year Floodplain 500-Year Floodplain

11

18

18

Catawba Riv

er

12

14 POW

26

17

ERH

OUS

25

17

E RD

27 Glen Alpine Elementary School

70

Re

MAP 2

18 13

11

Floodway

Local Roads State and County Roads State Roads

20

Glen 18 Alpine

Hydrology

Rail Roads

Site Analysis Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

rn

the

ou

S folk

RR

Glen Alpine

r

No

k

ree

yC

ed

20

18

Natural Community

Roads/Interstates

Sewer

18

er

21

La

Animal Assemblage

500-Year Floodplain

NCDOT Bridge Locations

Waterlines

Catawba Riv

Catawba River Access Area

Private Municipal/County Owned Properties

Element Occurances Plant

Flood Zones

Bike Route

GREATER GLEN ALPINE

18

e

am

J ke

il

Tra

State Natural Heritage Data

Transportation

Utilities

op

o sL

Active & Inactive Landfills

SL and Landmark SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

Utilities

Lake James

Federal & State Ownership

Animal

Waterbodies National Register Historic District (NRHD)

Rail Roads

Table Rock Middle School

Managed Lands

Natural Community Public Libraries SL, DOE, and Landmark Natural Heritage Areas DOE NRHD Colleges and Universities Moderate Exceptional Surveyed General Very High Surveyed in NRHDSchools Site Gone High Unranked Sites and Ditricts SensitiveHistoric Cultural Resources Hydrology Transportation National Register (NR) of Historic Places Site Wetlands (NWI)

Roads/Interstates NRHD

Element Occurrence: Sweet White Trillium

Existing Trails

Duke Energy Properties

Bike Route

19

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer

NR and Local Landmark

SL and Landmark Public Health SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

18

OVNHT & Other Recreation Overmountain Victory NH Trail

National Register (NR) of Historic Places Site

NRHD Boundary

il

Tra

Federal & State Ownership

Public Health Departments Public Libraries

op

Lo

a

eJ

k La

s me

Lenoir to Morganton Greenway Study

16


STUDY AREA 2: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS Opportunities and Constraints: Greater Glen Alpine (Map 2) OPPORTUNITIES 17 18

18 19

20 21

22 23

24

25

26 27

Utilize 60-foot right-of-way (with 18-20-foot shoulder) on Powerhouse Road Potential for bridge underpass at low-flow periods— but on-grade crossing of Powerhouse Road may be more practical Bridge decking may accommodate a shoulder for on-grade crossing across the Catawba River Existing trail easement may allow for greenway accommodation in gated equestrian community— land bordering the Catawba River is owned by the club/community Potential amenable land owner Bridge clearance across the Catawba River would allow for a greenway underpass on either sides but lacks adequate shoulder on bridge deck for crossing the river Burke County’s Catawba River Access Area— potential trailhead location Subdivision platted but properties bordering river appear to be undeveloped and still owned by developer Watermill Glen Alpine Road/Turkey Tail Lane rightof-way has 60-foot right-of-way with approximately 30-feet of shoulder on the western side Downtown Glen Alpine hosts a commercial area that could serve greenway tourism including a bike shop, winery, and bed and breakfast Linville Street has an approximately 5-foot sidewalk through the majority of downtown Glen Alpine Powerhouse Road has 60-foot of right-of-way and relatively flat terrain into Glen Alpine

18

View of Powerhouse Road bridge over the Catawba River

CONSTRAINTS 11 12 13

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Sensitive cultural resource area Homesite is close to Catawba River—alignment would need to navigate around it Bridge clearance may not be desirable for a greenway underpass and on-grade crossing may be necessary Tree farm Trust property Homesite located fairly close to Catawba River Sensitive cultural resource areas Wetland/low lying areas Trust property not likely to be amendable to a greenway Trust property Use of some private property in drainage would be needed for alignment This alignment may be less probable due to the intersection with several small privately held parcels

12

View of home site on the Catawba River that prevents an adjacent alignment on the south end

Club owned property

19

Gated equestrian community has commonly owned property on the riverfront

22

Burke County Catawba River Access area and potential trailhead

20

View from Catawba River Bridge—landowner on right of picture may be amenable

14

View of Watermill Glen Alpine Road right-of-way as a potential connector to Glen Alpine

21

View of Bridgewater Road and potential ongrade road and railroad crossing

16

Downtown Glen Alpine (with Norfolk Southern railroad line in the foreground)

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

21


38

Constraints

Connectors 20-Foot Contours County Boundary

50

Opportunities

38

Overmountain Victory NH Trail Constraints

OVNHT & Other Recreation

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer

Municipal Boundaries

Existing Trails

Property Lines

Proposed Trails

Duke Energy Properties Civic Landmarks

Municipal Boundaries

Public Libraries

Proposed Trails

Brownfields Fishing Access Inactive Hazardous Sites Crescent Resources PropertiesNational Register (NR) of Historic Places Site Parks Active & Inactive Landfills NR and Local Landmark Civic Landmarks National Register Historic District (NRHD) Golf Courses State Natural Heritage Data NRHD Boundary

Public Health Departments

Study List (SL)

Public Libraries

SL and Landmark SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

Local District Center Point

Managed Lands

Brownfields

Very High

General

High

Unranked

Active & Inactive HydricLandfills Soils

Local District Center Point Study List (SL)

Interstates Local Roads State and County Roads State Roads

Roads/Interstates

Interstates Local Roads State and County Roads State Roads Utilities

no

23

100-Year Floodplain

Animal Assemblage

500-Year Floodplain

EE R

OAD

Natural Heritage Areas

Moderate General

High

Unranked

126

re

no

31

26

29

HW

Y1

AST

126 25

Waterbodies

eC

re

ek

Floodway 100-Year Floodplain 500-Year Floodplain

MAP 3

Catawba River Soccer Complex &Greenway Loop

29

Collett St. Rec. Center & Martha Park

West Str Historic Dist 126

36 35

Morganton 34

OAD

31

30

70

31 126

23

JAM

28

Ca

D

OA

NR

OW EST

no

27

ek

Silver Cre

31

26

a

Swan Pond (Easement: Historic Preservation Foundation)

wb r

ve

END OF STUDY AREA

28

29

Freedom Park & Greenway Forest Hill Elementary School

eC

re

ek 32

Ri

Site Analysis Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Quaker Meadows Cemetery, Circa 1767-1879

33

EE R

Element Occurrence: Carolina Foothills Crayfish, Eastern Creekshell

Flood Zones

END OF STUDY AREA

Freedom High School

24

Streams

37

64

30

26 28

DOC HWY

181

Quaker Meadows House

Freedom Park & Greenway

32

23

Lenoir to Morganton Greenway Study

22

Ca

27

Swan Pond (Easement: Historic Preservation Foundation)

Hydric Soils

WEST MORGANTON

126

ek

Hydrology

Wetlands (NWI)

38

34 31

Element Occurrence: Carolina Foothills Crayfish, Eastern Creekshell

Avery Avenu Distr

ML King Park

126

35

31

eC

28

Animal Natural Community

36

ta

Sewer

Ca

Waterbodies

Element Occurances Flood Zones Floodway Plant

Exceptional

k

Quaker Meadows Golf Course

Ca

Waterlines

AST

126

r

NCDOT Bridge Locations Rail Roads

DOC HWY

ve Ri

Bike Route

26

ba

Transportation

Quaker Meadows Cemetery, Circa 1767-1879

Y1

23

State Natural Heritage Data

Very High

Gr

39

ree

Cascade Park HW

29

w ta

SL, DOE, and Landmark DOE NRHD Surveyed Surveyed in NRHD Site Gone Sensitive Cultural Resources

Sewer

30

Ca

Utilities SL and Landmark Waterlines SL and Determined Eligible (DOE)

ek

126

Streams

Roads/Interstates

37

re

Hydrology

Inactive Hazardous Sites Wetlands (NWI)

NRHD Boundary

eC

Animal

NR and Local Landmark

National Register Historic DistrictRail(NRHD) Roads

Quaker Meadows House

Private Natural Community Municipal/County Natural Heritage Areas Owned Properties Moderate Exceptional

National Register (NR) of Historic Places Site Transportation

NCDOT Bridge Locations

no

Element Occurances Plant

Federal & State Ownership Animal Assemblage

SL, DOE, and Landmark DOE NRHD Surveyed Surveyed in NRHD Site Gone Sensitive Cultural Resources Bike Route

38

Ca

eenway

ay

Hospitals

Historic Sites and Ditricts

RO A

Federal & State Ownership

OVNHT 1/2-Mile Buffer Private

enw Catawba Gre

Schools Historic Sites and Ditricts

Colleges and Universities

Catawba

Park (NC State Easement)

Existing TrailsMunicipal/County Owned Properties

Colleges and Universities

Schools

nC

SAINT MARYS CHURCH RDCatawba Meadows

AD

Public Health Departments

Property Lines

Wil so

iver

ba R

w Cata

OVNHT & Other Recreation Managed Lands Overmountain Victory NH Trail

Hospitals

County Boundary

Duke Energy Properties

k

Fishing Access Parks Golf Courses

Crescent Resources Properties

20-Foot Contours

39

ree

2

Connectors

nC

AD

Alignment ‘B’

Wil so SAINT MARYS CHURCH RD

BOST RO

Alignment ‘A’

MAP 3

BOST RO

Alignment ‘B’

ST

Opportunities

BO

50

MAP 2MAP

LEGEND Alignment ‘A’

D

MAP 3 STUDY AREA 3

LEGEND

MAP 4: STUDY AREA 3 SITE ANALYSIS

STUDY AREA 3: SITE ANALYSIS

Freedom High School

33

Catawba River Soc Complex &Greenway Loo

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN 25

30

70


STUDY AREA 3: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS Opportunities and Constraints: West Morganton (Map 3) OPPORTUNITIES 28 29 30

31 32 33 34 35

36 37 38 39

Historic farm (Swan Pond) Alignment could parallel Docastee Road Alignment could travel on-road on Elm Street and would need to travel through private property to access along the river Alignment overlaps with sewer lines/easements Canoe Creek bridge may accommodate a greenway underpass and separated pedestrian lane Connection could use some current path alignments through Freedom Park Intersection has planned signalization improvements Development is planned to link in sidewalk infrastructure and will link to the north side of Hwy 181 Connection to Quaker Meadows Cemetery—a historically significant OVT site Potential amenable landowner—property was historically a part of Quaker Meadows Connection to Quaker Meadows House—a historically significant OVT site Bost Road has significant 60-foot right-of-way and could serve as a connection to a neighboring subdivision

28

Swan Pond (a National Historic Register site) was settled just after the American Revolution

CONSTRAINTS 23 24

25 26 27

28

29 30

Alignment leaves OVT mile-buffer Topography is steep with a bluff that drops off behind buildings—alignment could need a switchback in this location Homesite close to the Catawba River would make an adjacent river alignment less likely Sensitive cultural resources area and trustee property Alignment on Cresthill Drive would need to be on-road or the construction of a 5-foot sidewalk— which is less than the recommended minimum 10foot path for a greenway in suburban/urban areas Access is restricted on the Morganton Water Plant but alignment is proposed around the perimeter and would require fencing (also a sensitive cultural resource area) Sensitive cultural resource area and wetlands Intersection of Saint Marys Church Road and Highway 181 is signalized but no crosswalks exist

29

A view of Docastee Road from Highway 126

24

30

25 Catawba River

30 24 25

Section where alignment would navigate away from the river

20

View of Cresthill Drive—a potential on-road or parallel alignment

28

View of Morganton Water Plant and its restricted access

22

14

16

View from Independence Boulevard bridge over Canoe Creek

Quaker Meadows Cemetery—revolutionary War grave sites and one of the oldest historic sites in Western NC

The McDowell House (Quaker Meadows)— historically significant through several eras

CHAPTER 1: Existing Conditions, Analysis, and Preliminary Alignments

23


2

L A N D O W N E R O U T R E A CH LANDOWNER OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT WAS A KEY COMPONENT OF THE PLANNING PROCESS.

The environmental analysis (Chapter 1) was critical to determine physically feasible locations for trail development. However, significant portions of these routes impact private property and require

THE ENGAGEMENT PROCESS A| IDENTIFYING THE LANDOWNERS B| LANDOWNER WORKSHOP C| TRAIL ROUTE RE-EVALUATION

landowner outreach to fully assess trail feasibility. This chapter highlights the good-faith effort to engage landowners throughout the planning process.

25


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A mailing database was created that included all property owners impacted by the preliminary trail alignment(s).

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FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN SU L

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STEP 1: DETERMINE WHERE THE TRAIL IS FEASIBLE (CHAPTER 1). ¬¬

2 Miles

W


LANDOWNER WORKSHOP

• •

LANDOWNER INVITATION AND POSTCARD

• •

Formal invitations were sent to all landowners requesting their attendance at a special meeting. Landowners who were unable to attend could respond with a pre-stamped postcard indicating their level of interest in providing for the trail.

• • •

PRESENTATION

I am Familiar with the FFST Yes No Maybe I am familiar with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail Yes No Maybe I plan on attending the landowner workshop on February 27, 2018 Yes No Maybe I am interested in donating a corridor to accommodate the trail Yes No Maybe I am interested in selling a corridor to accommodate the trail Yes No Maybe I am interested in donating property to Burke County to accommodate the trail Yes No Maybe I am interested in selling an entire property at full market value to Burke County Yes No Maybe

this ipation in Your partic ant rt po edibly im survey is incr l! ai tr e th s of to the succes !! u! yo Thank Burke County Community Development PO Box 219 Morganton, NC 28680 LANDOWNER ID:________________

After signing in, the landowner workshop began with a presentation by Burke County staff that highlighted origins of the Fonta Flora Trail project, previous planning efforts, and trail progress and accomplishments.

MAP REVIEW Landowners were able to review preliminary maps and ask questions about their specific property and the associated trail alignment with Burke County planning staff and consultants.

SENTIMENT CARD The meeting concluded with landowners noting their level of willingness to provide a trail easement via the Landowner Interest Survey printed on the back of their invitation post card.

LANDOWNER WORKSHOP Morganton to Lake Section of the Fonta Flora State Trail & Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail! In partnership with the North Carolina Division of State Parks, Burke County is beginning to identify properties and routes for establishing the Lake James to Morganton section of the Fonta Flora State Trail (FFST). Designated as a State Trail in 2015, Fonta Flora is a public walking and biking trail that with eventually connect Morganton, Lake James, Marion, Old Fort, Black Mountain, and Asheville.

ON FEBRUARY 27, 2018, 20 LANDOWNERS ATTENDED THE LANDOWNER WORKSHOP AT THE BURKE COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER.

The Fonta Flora State Trail finds its origins in the desires of Burke County citizens to increase the quality of life enjoyed by residents, provide a destination-quality recreational amenity for visitors and the region’s diverse population, and provide public access to the area’s outstanding cultural and natural resources. The Lake James to Morganton section of the FFST is unique in that it shares a corridor with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT). It is the vision of the partner organizations, including the National Park Service, that a single trail can be developed that serves as both the FFST and OVNHT.

CHAPTER 2: LANDOWNER OUTREACH

27


TRAIL ROUTE RE-EVALUATION REVISE TRAIL ALIGNMENTS

A COMBINATION OF FACTORS, INCLUDING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, AND LANDOWNER SENTIMENT, WERE USED TO DETERMINE THE PREFERRED TRAIL ALIGNMENT (CHAPTER 4).

28

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

MAP 6: TRAIL ROUTE RE-EVALUATION

“Landowner Sentiment” was helpful for determining the preferred alignment and was included as a component of the final map series (Chapter 4).


3

TRAIL C H A R A C T E R A N D D E S I G N GUIDELIN ES IN THIS CHAPTER: THIS CHAPTER PROVIDES DESIGN DETAILS FOR VARIOUS TRAIL TYPES AND TRAIL SUPPORT FACILITIES AND OFFERS INSIGHT FOR INCORPORATING SOCIAL MEDIA. This chapter describes specific trail construction

standards and trail types to ensure minimal maintenance and the best user experience.

and illustrates their transitions along the preferred

A| SUSTAINABLE TRAIL DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

trail alignment.

B| TRAIL TYPES

A unique architectural and branding theme is

C| TRAIL PROFILE

presented for signage, wayfinding, and other

D| TRAIL SUPPORT FACILITIES

Additionally, this chapter defines three trail types

trail support facilities. This chapter concludes

with recommendations for using social media to market the trail.

E| SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

29


TRAIL CHARACTER SUSTAINABLE TRAIL DESIGN The trail must be designed and constructed to minimize erosion and ongoing maintenance, while providing for a leisure, family-oriented experience. The trail width will be approximately five-feet wide and allow for multiple users and emergency access from off-road vehicles. The overall average trail grade or steepness will be 5% or less. The trail will be slightly rolling with a gentle grade that follows the terrain contours. The trail will be slightly out-sloped, and meanders and undulates frequently to remove water from the trail surface and create interest. The trail corridor will remain as narrow as possible while still maintaining the required tread width.

1. THE HALF RULE A trail’s grade shouldn’t exceed half the grade of the hillside or sideslope that the trail traverses. If the grade does exceed half the sideslope, its considered a fall-line trail. Water will flow down a fall-line trail rather than run across it.

The trail design will utilize the five essential elements of sustainable trails as outlined in the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) publication “Trail Solutions.”

30

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

2. THE TEN PERCENT AVERAGE GUIDELINE An average trail grade of 10 percent or less is considered sustainable. This doesn’t mean that all trails should be kept under 10 percent, but the trail builder will need to limit the length of sections that exceed 10 percent.


THE FIVE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF SUSTAINABLE TRAILS

3. MAXIMUM SUSTAINABLE TRAIL GRADES Maximum grade is the steepest portion of a trail that is more than approximately 10 feet in length. It’s critical to determine what the maximum allowable trail grade will be prior to beginning construction. Several factors should be considered when determining the maximum sustainable trail grade which include:

4. GRADE REVERSALS

5. OUTSLOPE

A grade reversal is a point where an ascending trail changes direction subtly for 10 to 50 linear feet before ascending again. This change in grade allows for water to exit the trail.

Outslopes allow water to sheet flow off the trail instead of channeling down its center.

• Half Rule • Soil Types • Rock • Annual Rainfall Amount • Grade Reversals • Type of Users • Number of Users • Difficulty Level

MAX

CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

31


TRAIL CHARACTER TRAIL CONSTRUCTION Members and associates of the Professional Trailbuilders Association (PTBA) should be preferred contractors for constructing the trail with mechanized equipment. These contractors have a thorough understanding of sustainable trail design and construction.

features will be finished to a smooth, stable surface. Any excess or disturbed soil outside the trail tread is evenly distributed and covered with leaves, organic debris, and other natural materials to aid in aesthetics and sedimentation and erosion control.

FULL BENCH CUT The trail will be constructed using a “full bench cut” in which the entire trail tread is built on solid ground.

Volunteers may also work with PTBA contractors in a “hybrid” manner. When utilizing this method, the contractor is responsible for the rough cut of the trail tread and volunteers complete the finish work. Burke County will be responsible for securing any required local, state, or federal permits for construction. The trail will be constructed using a “full bench cut” in which the entire trail tread is built on solid ground. A “partial bench cut” which is similar to “cut and fill” will only be utilized if a full bench cut is not feasible due to rock outcrops, slabs, or other natural features. A partial bench cut uses loose fill dirt to construct a portion of the trail treads. The fill dirt has a tendency to loosen over time and can then wash and erode. This issue is minimized when constructing a full bench cut. The trail bed will be shaped to leave an even, compacted, uniform surface free of indentations or protruding roots and stumps. The grading of the trail tread, back slope, and drainage

32

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

SOLID GROUND

Details from IMBA


TRAIL TYPES Five trail types are proposed along the preferred alignment. A specific trail type is proposed according to its surrounding environment, whether it is for safety along roadways or to enhance user experience.

TYPICAL GREENWAY 10’ PAVED ASPHALT

MILE MARKER FENCING TO MARK PRIVATE PROPERTY BOUNDARY

30’ PREFERRED BUFFER TO RIVER TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY

photo: discoverburkecounty.com THE CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY INCORPORATES APPROXIMATELY FOUR MILES OF CERTIFIED OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL.

10’ PAVED ASPHALT

User Group: Multi-Use

Average Construction Cost: $80/ln. ft.

Material: Paved Asphalt

Preferred Easement Width: 50’

Preferred Width: 10’

Minimum Easement Width: 20’

CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

33


TRAIL CHARACTER TRAIL TYPES SHARED PATH

DUAL-USE TRAIL

20’ PAINTED ASPHALT

5’ NATURAL SURFACE

SHARROWS & PAINTING ON GROUND INDICATE SHARED PATH

20’ TWO-WAY TRAFFIC SHARED PATH

FENCE TO MARK PRIVATE PROPERTY

2' -3' CLEARED

5' NATURAL SURFACE

I

2' -3' CLEARED

User Group: Hikers, Cyclists, and Vehicles

Avg. Construction Cost: $15/ln. ft.

User Group: Hikers and Cyclists

Average Construction Cost: $12/ln. ft.

Material: Painted Asphalt

Preferred Easement Width: Existing road width

Material: Native Soils

Preferred Easement Width: 50’

Preferred Width: 5’

Minimum Easement Width: 10’

Preferred Width: 20’

34

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


NCDOT SIDE PATH

MULTI-USE TRAIL

8’ PAVED ASPHALT

8’ CRUSHED GRAVEL FINES

GUARD RAIL

2’-3’ SHOULDER

8’ PAVED ASPHALT

2’-3’ SHOULDER

User Group: Multi-Use

Average Construction Cost: $120/ln. ft.

User Group: Hikers, Cyclists, Equestrians

Average Construction Cost: $25/ln. ft.

Material: Paved asphalt

Preferred Easement Width: 25’

Material: Crushed Gravel Fines

Preferred Easement Width: 25’

Preferred Width: 8’

Minimum Easement Width: 25’

Preferred Width: 8’

Minimum Easement Width: 15’

Note: Trail to be approved in accordance with NCDOT encroachment agreement.

CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

35


TRAIL CHARACTER TRAIL TYPE PROFILE

T F IN

SO

INT

PO TRAIL TYPES NCDOT SIDE PATH

TA

FON

RT

STA

ST ERE

IN NHT

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E

LAK

ES JAM

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K

AR TE P

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AL

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AD

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DUAL USE TRAIL

RY

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MULTI-USE TRAIL

TYPICAL GREENWAY

.8

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3.45

.1

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

BA AW T A T C UB EXI ER CL RIV

1.25 1.0

APPROX. DISTANCE IN MILES 36

RY

E E EN

DUK

8’ CRUSHED GRAVEL

10’ PAVED ASPHALT

R

NTE

2.2

2.7

US

RHO

E POW

D. ER

MATCHLINE

There are two (2) primary trail type transitions proposed along the preferred trail route, which extends approximately 20 miles. The Trail Type Profile identifies the transition location, along with associated length, for each trail type.


MATCHLINE

S

A WB ATA C ER UB ENT ER CL RIV

BA AW T A T C UB EXI ER CL RIV

1.25

N

STI

EXI

A GW

TER

L MIL

ER

RIV

ES ACC

OM

RC

B

AW

CAT

ER

IV AR

CE SOC

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X PLE

4.6

1.0 CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY & DOWNTOWN CONNECTOR (3.0)

WN

TO WN

END

AN ORG

M

DO

*Final trail type will depend on specific environmental conditions and whether trail is located within NCDOT ROW or within a private trail easement.

APPROX. DISTANCE IN MILES CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

37


TRAIL SUPPORT FACILITIES OVERVIEW A unique architectural and branding theme is presented for trail support facilities presented on the following pages.

TRAILHEAD KIOSK

PICNIC SHELTER

TRAILHEAD MONUMENT

The kiosk will provide a trail map and other important information for trail users. This facility will be located at trailheads and pocket parks along the FFST.

The shelter design includes a timber frame structure. This architectural style, along with a cedar shingle roof, provides for a natural character conducive to the Lake James environment.

Large monuments will be located at major trailheads or pocket park facilities that provide access to the FFST. This monument should also provide for the name of the specific trailhead or pocket park.

38

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


VAULT TOILET

BREAKAWAY SIGN

MILEAGE POSTS

The vault toilet does not require a septic system, but must be pumped regularly. This facility will be provided for at the Fonta Flora County Park

The FFST shares a route with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The directional signage post will provide users with important trail information and is compliant with NCDOT standards.

Mileage posts not only provide distance information, but also serve as confidence markers that create a feeling of safety.

CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

39


SUPPORT FACILITIES TRAIL FEATURES & SITE FURNITURE Burke County is working in partnership with Oak Hill Iron and other local artisans to develop custom site furniture and other support facilities. These unique and custom elements will be provided for at Fonta Flora County Park, trailheads, pocket parks, and other locations where trail users can be served.

TRAILHEAD KIOSK

40

BICYCLE RACK

BENCHES

NCDOT BRIDGE DETAIL

TRAILHEAD MONUMENT

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


SOCIAL MEDIA: THE NEW WORD OF MOUTH Trail users should be encouraged to utilize social media to share their experiences with their “friends” and “followers.” Special signage along the trail will signal users to consider posting pictures of themselves or their group of friends as they walk or ride bikes along the trail. In addition, special props and features should be developed during the final design phase. After all, who can market this destination-quality trail better than trail users themselves? Lets take advantage of social media - the new word of mouth.

#FONTAFLORA The proposed official hashtag for the Fonta Flora State Trail is #fontaflora. The use of this hashtag will allow local tourism leaders to curate local photos and content that can be shared on website and re-posted through other social media platforms.

CROSS PROMOTE WITH OTHER NOTABLE HASHTAGS #trail2victory @NCParks #LakeJames #findyourpark

#FINDYOURPARK Find Your Park is the official centennial campaign of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is encouraging National Park enthusiasts to use the hashtag “findyourpark” when posting to social media. The OVNHT can help continue this campaign for years to come by encouraging the use of this hashtag at unique locations along the trail.

CHAPTER 3: Trail Character and Design Guidelines

41


4

R E C O MME N D AT I O N S THIS CHAPTER SERVES AS THE HEART OF THE TRAIL MASTER PLAN, PROVIDING SPECIFIC TRAIL ALIGNMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

Specific trail alignments and recommendations are provided for the FFST within four (4) planning sections. Trail

recommendations

are

supported

with

renderings that demonstrate trail character at

IN THIS CHAPTER: A| PLANNING SECTIONS OVERVIEW B| TRAIL SECTION RECOMMENDATIONS

specific locations.

43


IOR F

ORK

R S RIVE

WA RR

JOHN

PLANNING SECTIONS FONTA FLORA COUNTY PARK

LAKE JAMES LOOP

JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

126 181

WILSON CR EEK

4

EEK

E CR

CANO

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK TRAILS

1

3

2

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

NCH DEE BRA

PEE

EEK

PADDY CR

The 20 mile study area from Lake James to Morganton is divided into four (4) planning sections. The geographic extent of each section includes a beginning and ending terminus that features a key asset or significant connectivity point for the trail. Many of the planning sections represent project areas that can be developed independently over time, providing a logical method for implementation as landowner willingness, funding, and other opportunities arise.

MAP 7: PLANNING SECTIONS

PLANNING SECTIONS

126

The planning sections include:

1

FREEDOM TRAIL

LAKE JAMES

GLEN ALPINE

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE ROAD MUDDY

CREEK

FIELD NOTES

VER CREEK LE SIL LITT

TRAILS

BA

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

Y

E IL

POWERHOUSE ROAD >> WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

N

RK

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY >> DOWNTOWN MORGANTON

Y UNT E CO TY BURK OUN LL C OWE

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS >> CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

FO

COMPLETED FFST

MCD

2 3 4

SILVER CREEK

70

REEDY

CREEK

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

CATAWBA RIVER

MORGANTON

FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

40

0

0.5

1

2 MI. ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE PUBLIC LANDS

THE 20 MILE STUDY AREA FROM LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON IS DIVIDED INTO FOUR (4) PLANNING SECTIONS; THIS CHAPTER IS ORGANIZED ACCORDINGLY. 44

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


BRIDGE

POWERHOUSE RD.

1

E

I LL

ER

2

R

E ST CA

N LA

RN

BRIDGEWATER RIVER ACCESS

CK

LO

M

HE

SLEEP Y HOLL OW

NG DI

E

INT

L PO

RE LAU

LAKE JAMES FAMILY CAMPGROUND

RW

ORE

N LA

SH

S HOLIDAY

H

LAKE JAMES >> MORGANTON: BY THE NUMBERS E Y BU M GA

3

W

CO NL

ST

BENFIELD

EXISTING CANAL BRIDGE PUBLIC ACCESS AND TRAILHEAD

EXISTING CANOE PORTAGE TRAIL

LINVILLE DAM TRAILHEAD

RR E

1

CO TT

WH IP PO

2

E US O RH

AGE PARK

LAKE JAMES O LAK E F

CANAL BRIDGE

EACH PLANNING SECTION IS ANCHORED BY A MAP THAT HIGHLIGHTS PROPOSED TRAIL ROUTES AND FEATURES.

ARK

NP OW

126

ATE P

CK W O

EXISTING OVNHT

R O RF

LA FO K N E TA JA F M LO ES R LO A O P

S ST

OLLO

JAME

H

EXISTING HOLLY DISCOVERY TRAILHEAD

E AT W

RT

LAKE

D WAY

FUTURE TRAILHEAD AND VISITOR CENTER

DU

21.3 >> TRAIL MILES 20 >> SHARED OVNHT MILES FUTURE BENFIELDS PRIMITIVE POCKET PARK CAMPING 11 >> TRAILHEADS AT VISTA 3 7 >> ROAD CROSSINGS RAY’S DAIRY TRAILHEAD 5 >> MAJOR BRIDGES ABOUT THE PLANNING SECTION MAPS R E V I R A $2.3 M >> APPROX. COST These features include trailheads and crossings Each planning section is anchored by AC TAWBasBENF IELD

SL

LA K

NO RESPONSE Noted trail features include the physical infrastructure and facilities that support the proposed trail. These features are highlighted along the preferred N 1/2 MI. route and provide critical information for developing an estimate of probable cost for each section.

PUBLIC LAND

0

1/8

1/4

R ATE EW

K

R PA

MAJOR BRIDGE

IDG BR

ER

IEW EV

A RIV

B ATAW

OLD C

AND ING

a map that highlights proposed trail routes, trail features, and landowner sentiment. The proposed FIELD NOTES routes are identified as either preferred, alternate, TRAIL FEATURES LANDOWNER SENTIMENT or spur. These trail alignments are the result of extensive analysis, including environmental feasibility, TRAILHEAD YES landowner willingness, and insights provided by loNO # ROAD CROSSING cal government and local trail development leaders. POSITIVE #

E

US

HO

ER

W PO

sociated with either a road or water feature. Trailheads will provide for parking and trail user orientation. Road crossings indicate the need to provide for traffic calming measures and appropriate signage for both trail users and motorists. Major bridges indicate a significant stream or river crossing that requires a bridge greater than 20 feet in length.

QUICK FACTS Each planning section begins with a “quick facts” exhibit. This information includes the trail distance, trail type (see Chapter 3: Design Guidelines), and key features and assets associated with each section.

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

45


SECTION 1

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE ROAD PROPOSED TRAILS

VICINITY MAP WA

JOHN

IOR F

ORK

S RIVER

PLANNING SECTIONS FONTA FLORA COUNTY PARK

LAKE JAMES LOOP

JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

126 181

CANOE

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK TRAILS

WILSON CR EEK

K

CREE NCH DEE BRA

PEE

EK

PADDY CRE

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

1

126 FREEDOM TRAIL

LAKE JAMES

MORGANTON

GLEN ALPINE SILVER CREEK

CREEK

MUDDY

70

REEDY

CREEK

FIELD NOTES

VER CREEK LE SIL

TRAILS

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

EY

IL

LI

BA

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

CATAWBA RIVER

N

RK

FO

UNTY E CO TY BURK COUN WELL MCDO

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

40

0

0.5

1

2 MI.

PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE PUBLIC LANDS

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE ROAD

TOTAL LENGTH: TRAIL TYPE:

7.0 MILES NCDOT SIDE PATH DUAL-USE TRAIL

ESTIMATED COST: $515,476 POINTS OF INTEREST: FONTA FLORA BREWERY

CANAL BRIDGE TRAILHEAD RAYS DAIRY TRAILHEAD BRIDGEWATER RIVER ACCESS LAKE JAMES FAMILY CAMPGROUND

46

This planning section extends 7.0 miles from the Fonta Flora Brewery at Whippoorwill Farm to Powerhouse Road. The Fonta Flora Farmhouse Brewery property provides a significant opportunity for a destination-quality trailhead. A short, paved spur trail, approximately 400 ft. long, will connect the brewery and trailhead to an existing segment of the OVNHT within Lake James State Park. This connection will require cooperation with a private landowner to cross an existing gravel driveway.

1

The OVNHT is not currently designed for dual-use and must be reconstructed and routed to provide for bicycles. This will require close cooperation with the NC Division of State Parks. Similarly, the OVNHT crossing at Hwy. 126 will require redesign to allow bicycles to achieve road grade and cross where sight lines are best. This can be achieved by utilizing an existing abandoned road bed with two to three moderate switchbacks. Currently, the OVNHT utilizes a set of stairs to achieve grade before continuing west through the 1780 Community. The trail will utilize the OVNHT for two miles before reaching Canal Bridge. The transition from the OVNHT to road grade at Canal Bridge presents a challenge and will likely require a boardwalk or bridge system. At Canal Bridge, the FFST utiliz-

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

es NCDOT right-of-way until it reaches additional state-owned land south of Benfields Landing Road; approximately 1,050 feet of NCDOT Side Path trail type will be required along Canal Bridge and Hwy. 126 before reaching additional state property. The FFST will meander through the state’s property for approximately 1.2 miles before reaching private property. The trail will extend along the south side of Hemlock Springs Rd. where county officials continue to work with landowners to secure trail easements. The trail then connects to Lake James Family Campground. From there, the trail will parallel the north side of Benfields Landing Road before reaching a scenic vista and beach at the future site of a pocket park.

2

From the pocket park, the natural surface trail continues east for a short distance before crossing N. Powerhouse Road to connect to the proposed trailhead on Rays Dairy Road. From there, The trail continues east to another vista that provides an opportunity for primitive camping.

PHOTOS:

(1) THE TRAIL CONNECTOR TO FONTA FLORA BREWERY WILL CROSS A PRIVATE DRIVEWAY. (2) EXISTING OVNHT WILL REQUIRE REDESIGN FOR BICYCLES.


FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL

FUTURE COVE BRIDGE

S ST

ATE P

E

BENF IELD

HOLLO W SLEEPY

I LL

ER

2

RN

CK

LO

M

HE

BRIDGEWATER RIVER ACCESS

T AS NC

LA

DU

NG DI

POIN

ER

RW

ORE SH

N LA

REL

H

EY BUM GA

S

LAKE JAMES FAMILY CAMPGROUND

TE

LAU

E

US

HO

SL

B ATAW OLD C

126

3

HOLIDAY

W CO NL

ST BENFIELD

EXISTING CANAL BRIDGE PUBLIC ACCESS AND TRAILHEAD

EXISTING CANOE PORTAGE TRAIL

LINVILLE DAM TRAILHEAD

RR E

1

CO TT

WH IP PO

2

E US O RH

AGE PARK

O LAK E F

CANAL BRIDGE

LAKE JAMES

NP OW

126

CK W O

EXISTING OVNHT

ARK

OLLO

1

R O RF

LA FO K N E TA JA F M LO ES R LO A O P

JAME

H

EXISTING HOLLY DISCOVERY TRAILHEAD

E AT W

RT

LAKE

FONTA FLORA BREWERY AT HISTORIC WHIPPOORWILL DAIRY

D WAY

FUTURE TRAILHEAD AND VISITOR CENTER

MAP 8: PLANNING SECTION 1

SECTION 1

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE RD.

AND ING

ER

FUTURE BENFIELDS POCKET PARK

W PO

PRIMITIVE CAMPING AT VISTA

3

RAY’S DAIRY TRAILHEAD

R ATE EW

RK PA

IDG

BR

IEW EV

ER A RIV

LA K

VER

RI AC TAWBA

FIELD NOTES TRAILS

TRAIL FEATURES

LANDOWNER SENTIMENT

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE TRAILHEAD

YES

#

ROAD CROSSING

NO

#

MAJOR BRIDGE

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

POSITIVE NO RESPONSE

PUBLIC LAND

EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE

0

1/8

1/4

1/2 MI.

N

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

47


SECTION 1

FONTA FLORA BREWERY >> POWERHOUSE ROAD

The trail will utilize the existing Muddy Creek Bridge before connecting to the existing Bridgewater River Access, which is maintained by Duke Power and is programmed for further infrastructure improvements. At Bridgewater, the FFST: Lake James Loop branches east on the canoe portage trail to the Linville Dam Trailhead while the OVNHT and FFST continue east toward Morganton. This planning section ends where the trail leaves Powerhouse Road and connects to established trail easements that follow the Catawba River.

TRAIL FEATURES Trailheads This planning section includes five trailheads. The proposed trailhead located at Fonta Flora Brewery at Whippoorwill Farm serves as the western

terminus of the study area. The brewery occupies eight acres of the historic dairy farm property. The remaining 40 acres have been conserved in perpetuity through a partnership between Foothills Land Conservancy and the NC Division of State Parks who incorporated the property into Lake James State Park. The Holly Discovery Trailhead currently provides access to the Holly Discovery Trail and OVNHT within the State Park. Canal Bridge and Bridgewater Trailheads utilize existing public water access facilities owned by Duke Energy. Duke has plans to significantly enhance the Bridgewater site, providing for additional parking and an enhanced boat launch area. The fifth trailhead in this section is proposed on Rays Dairy Road.

Crossings Proposed within this section are three (3) road crossings and three (3) major bridges.

3 PHOTO:

(3) THE TRANSITION FROM EXISTING OVNHT TO ROAD GRADE AT CANAL BRIDGE MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL BRIDGES. (4) BRIDGEWATER RIVER ACCESS IS A SIGNIFICANT CONNECTION POINT.

48

bridges. Major Bridge #1 crosses Paddy Creek to connect the Holly Discovery Trail to the OVNHT in Lake James State Park. Major Bridges #2 and #3, utilize NCDOT bridges at Canal Bridge and the Powerhouse Road bridge located near the Bridgewater public river access. Both vehicular bridges will require appropriate treatments that alert motorists to possible trail users and distinguish the trail from the vehicular travel lane.

The primary route crosses Benfields Landing Road twice in this section. The first crossing occurs south of Canal Bridge where Benfields Landing intersects Hwy. 126. At the second crossing, the trail crosses to the north side of Benfields Landing Road at Lake James Family Campground. Crossing #3, is located a short distance east of the pocket park where the trail crosses N. Powerhouse Road near its intersection with Benfields Landing Road. These crossings should include design measures to slow vehicular traffic and notify motorists of the trail crossing. The three major bridge crossings utilize existing

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

4


EXHIBIT 1: BREWING UP ADVENTURE The Fonta Flora Brewery at Whippoorwill Farm provides an opportunity for a destination-quality trailhead. A short connector path will link the brewery to the FFST/OVNHT in Lake James State Park near Paddy’s Creek.

EXISTING

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

49


50

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


EXHIBIT 2: CANAL BRIDGE Enhancements to the Canal Bridge could include green pavement markings along with the FFST land OVNHT logos. A short railing should be attached to the bridge’s wall to ensure trail user safety.

EXISTING

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

51


EXHIBIT 3: CANAL BRIDGE TRAILHEAD Canal Bridge Trailhead is located just south of the bridge at the intersection of Highway 126 and Benfields Landing Road. A crossing at Highway 126 will provide connectivity to a trailhead with FFST and OVNHT information and a shelter.

EXISTING

52

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

53


EXHIBIT 4: LAKE JAMES FAMILY CAMPGROUND The preferred alignment extends parallel to Benfields Landing Road and provides a direct connection to the Lake James Family Campground. This trail section will be notable to passing motorist and will create interest for those visiting the campground and Lake James area.

EXISTING

54

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


EXHIBIT 5: N. POWERHOUSE CROSSING East from Benfields Pocket Park the FFST will cross North Powerhouse Road. A traffic-calming study is suggested for this intersection. Potential improvements include green pavement treatment, FFST sign, and pedestrian-activated rapid flash beacons will signal motorists to reduce speeds and watch for trail users.

EXISTING

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

55


EXHIBIT 6: BRIDGEWATER The bridge near Duke Energy’s Bridgewater River Access will serve as the third and final major NCDOT bridge crossing. A short railing should be attached to the bridge’s wall to ensure trail user safety. This section is also part of the OVNHT.

EXISTING

56

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

57


SECTION 2

POWERHOUSE ROAD >> WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

VICINITY MAP WA

ORK

LAKE JAMES LOOP

JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

126

CANOE

181

WILSON CR EE K

K

CREE

PADDY CRE

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

NCH DEE BRA

PEE

EK

2

126 FREEDOM TRAIL

LAKE JAMES

MORGANTON

GLEN ALPINE SILVER CREEK

CREEK

MUDDY

70

REEDY

CREEK

FIELD NOTES

VER CREEK LE SIL

TRAILS

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

EY

IL

LI

BA

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

CATAWBA RIVER

N

RK

FO

UNTY E CO TY BURK COUN WELL MCDO

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

40

0

0.5

1

2 MI.

PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE PUBLIC LANDS

POWERHOUSE ROAD >> WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

TOTAL LENGTH: TRAIL TYPE:

The preferred route continues along the north side of the Catawba River after crossing Powerhouse Road near the North Bend Access: a planned NC Wildlife Resources River Access. From North Bend, the trail continues along the river utilizing Duke Energy property. The trail crosses St. Paul’s Church Road and will need to bridge the Catawba River to connect to secured trail easements within an equestrian community on the river’s south side. From there, the trail will continue along the south side and connect to the existing Watermill River Access. Trail type within the Catawba River Club should expand to a multi-use tread that can accom-

The first major road crossing exists at Powerhouse Road where an initial visual inspection revealed that the trail will likely require a surface crossing of the road rather than an underpass. However, during the design and engineering phase or with the development of the river access planned in this vicinity, an opportunity for a trail underpass should be further explored. The second crossing is at Saint Paul’s Church Road, a rural collector road that the trail will need to cross to reach the Catawba River. The final road crossing in this section is located at Watermill Bridge, which provides sufficient room to accommodate a trail underpass.

modate existing equestrian use.

The only necessary major bridge (#4) is centrally located within the planning section. This bridge will allow the trail to avoid landowners located on the north side of the Catawba River that are unwilling to provide trail easements, while accessing existing trail easements located on the south side of the river within the Catawba River Club residential subdivision.

TRAIL FEATURES

DUAL-USE TRAIL

Trailheads

MULTI-USE TRAIL

Two trailheads are proposed within this planning section. The first is proposed along the Catawba River at Powerhouse Road where NC Wildlife Resources will ultimately construct a river access area. This access should provide for an FFST and OVNHT informational map kiosk to welcome users. The second trailhead is proposed at the existing Watermill River Access. The trail will need to extend under the Watermill Bridge to connect with this access area, which could benefit from minor enhancements to organize parking and orient users to area recreation opportunities.

BEND RIVER ACCESS

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

58

There are three (3) road crossings and one (1) major bridge within this planning section.

5.7 MILES

ESTIMATED COST: $1,047,396.00 POINTS OF INTEREST: FUTURE NORTH

This planning section extends 5.7 miles from Powerhouse Road to Watermill River Access. S RIVER

IOR F

FONTA FLORA COUNTY PARK

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK TRAILS

Crossings

JOHN

PLANNING SECTIONS

PROPOSED TRAILS

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


N PS O M A

R

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LE CO N

ALP INE

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COBB HOLLOW

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GL

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W AT ER M

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5

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GIM MC

TABLE ROCK MIDDLE SCHOOL

KIR

NE

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126

PADDOCK

MAP 9: PLANNING SECTION 2

EFUL

PEAC

WATERMILL

KTH ORN TAV ERN

POWERHOUSE RD. >> WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

BUC

SECTION 2

CAN N

H

RT DU CKW O

RD

ORDERS

PO

LLA

MCGALLIARD

E

T HI

RR

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WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

ON

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W HI PO

RW IL L

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CO N

6

EY

IL TA

S

G

V RI

LINDA WAY

RIVER BREEZE

GLEN ALPINE

FUTURE NORTH BEND ACCESS AREA FIELD NOTES

4

MAL ONE

Y

TRAILS

TRAIL FEATURES

LANDOWNER SENTIMENT

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE TRAILHEAD

YES

FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

#

ROAD CROSSING

NO

PROPOSED FFST ON

#

MAJOR BRIDGE

COMPLETED FFST

POSITIVE

EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

NO RESPONSE PUBLIC LAND

EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE

0

1/8

1/4

1/2 MI.

N

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

59


EXHIBIT 7: OFF THE ROAD AGAIN @ POWERHOUSE After paralleling Powerhouse Road for approximately one mile, the preferred route laves the roadside, extends south to the Catawba River, and takes advantage of trail easements provided by Duke Power.

EXISTING

60

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


EXHIBIT 8: WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS ENHANCEMENTS The existing Watermill River Access serves as an ideal location to organize and orient trail users. Future enhancements at this pocket park could include paved parking, a picnic shelter, and an information kiosk.

EXISTING

CHAPTER CHAPTER 4: 4 Recommendations Recommendations

61


SECTION 3

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS >> CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY PROPOSED TRAILS

VICINITY MAP WA

JOHN

IOR F

ORK

S RIVER

PLANNING SECTIONS FONTA FLORA COUNTY PARK

LAKE JAMES LOOP

JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

126 181

CANOE

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK TRAILS

WILSON CR EE K

K

CREE NCH DEE BRA

PEE

EK

PADDY CRE

3

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

126 FREEDOM TRAIL

LAKE JAMES

MORGANTON

GLEN ALPINE SILVER CREEK

CREEK

MUDDY

70

REEDY

CREEK

FIELD NOTES

VER CREEK LE SIL

TRAILS

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

EY

IL

LI

BA

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

CATAWBA RIVER

N

RK

FO

UNTY E CO TY BURK COUN WELL MCDO

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

40

0

0.5

1

2 MI.

PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE PUBLIC LANDS

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS >> CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

TOTAL LENGTH: 4.6 MILES TRAIL TYPE: DUAL-USE TRAIL ESTIMATED COST: $145,728 POINTS OF INTEREST: WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

This planning section extends 4.6 miles from Watermill River Access to the Catawba River Greenway and Soccer Complex. This section is recognized as the most challenging area within the study area in regards to feasibility for implementation and will require additional landowner outreach. There are significant landowner challenges on both the north and south side of the Catawba River. Therefore, a preferred route is not provided; only alternative routes are identified in order to avoid alienation of area landowners. Ideally, the trail would continue along the south side of the river from the Watermill River Access, crossing under Independence Boulevard, to the Catawba River Greenway and Soccer Complex, also located on the south side. However, development density and noted uninterested landowners represent significant challenges on the south side of the river. Along the north side of the river, the historic Swan Pond property would serve as a meaningful con-

TRAIL FEATURES Trailheads The trailheads proposed within this planning section currently exist at the Catawba River Soccer Complex and Freedom Park, which provides access to a certified section of OVNHT. Enhancements at these trailheads might involve incorporating trail signage and other trail features noted in Chapter 3.

6

CATAWBA RIVER SOCCER COMPLEX

nection as part of the NC Preservation Program. The Canoe Creek corridor also serves as an environmentally suitable location for a trail, but again, landowner challenges present a barrier.

FREEDOM PARK

PHOTOS:

5 62

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

(5) AN INFORMAL TRAIL EXISTS ALONG THE CATAWBA RIVER .AT THE RIVERSIDE GOLF AND RV PARK. (6) A FOOTPATH LINKS THE CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY TO JUDGE’S RIVERSIDE RESTAURANT.


MAP 10: PLANNING SECTION 3

BOST

MULL

BRANSTROM

WILBURM NEWTON

NE BROO KSTO

B EAC M NT H O

CAMEL LIA G

WHISPERING PIN

ARDEN

JIM WALL

ND

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LA FORET

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PO SW AN

EN

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STEPHENS

ALPINE GL MI LL

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SA

W AM

NC EN

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MI

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FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL

IND

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FREEDOM PARK

E

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6

TREE FARM

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

CATAWBA RIVER

JURISDICTION

TS

IN HE CALV

GLENDALE

NORMANDY

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WHITLEY

YARD L U M B ER

RD

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CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

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5

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CATAW BA

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HARBINSON

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126

E CR

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126 181

WB A TA CA

DR

126

CANO

MCDOWELL HOUSE/ QUAKER MEADOWS

CH

TABLE ROCK MIDDLE SCHOOL

R HU ST MAR YS C

SECTION 3

WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS >> CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

FIELD NOTES TRAILS

TRAIL FEATURES

LANDOWNER SENTIMENT

PIT

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

70

VD L BL

STRIA

INDU

TRAILHEAD

YES

#

ROAD CROSSING

NO

#

MAJOR BRIDGE

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

POSITIVE NO RESPONSE

PUBLIC LAND

EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE

0

1/8

1/4

1/2 MI.

N

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

63


SECTION 4

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY >> DOWNTOWN MORGANTON PROPOSED TRAILS

VICINITY MAP WA

JOHN

IOR F

ORK

S RIVER

PLANNING SECTIONS

This planning section extends 4.0 miles from the Catawba River Greenway and Soccer Complex to Downtown Morganton.

FONTA FLORA COUNTY PARK

LAKE JAMES LOOP

JOHNS RIVER GAMELANDS

126 181

CANOE

LAKE JAMES STATE PARK TRAILS

WILSON CR EE K

4

K

CREE

PADDY CRE

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY

PEE

EK

NCH DEE BRA

126 FREEDOM TRAIL

LAKE JAMES

MORGANTON

GLEN ALPINE SILVER CREEK

CREEK

MUDDY

70

REEDY

CREEK

FIELD NOTES

VER CREEK LE SIL

TRAILS

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

EY

IL

LI

BA

OLD CATAWBA RIVER

CATAWBA RIVER

N

RK

FO

UNTY E CO TY BURK COUN WELL MCDO

COMPLETED FFST FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL PROPOSED FFST ON EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

40

0

0.5

1

2 MI.

PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE PUBLIC LANDS

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY >> DOWNTOWN MORGANTON

TOTAL LENGTH: 4.0 MILES TRAIL TYPE: TYPICAL GREENWAY ESTIMATED COST: $623,260 POINTS OF INTEREST: CATAWBA RIVER SOCCER COMPLEX

CATAWBA MEADOWS PARK

DOWNTOWN MORGANTON

FONTA FLORA BREWERY

The FFST will utilize the Catawba River Greenway north for 1.5 miles. The greenway is a certified segment of the OVNHT. At the southern end of Catawba Meadows Park, the FFST and OVNHT will split. The OVNHT continues north along the river while the FFST extends east on a future greenway connector planned by the City of Morganton. The City has acquired the necessary parcels for the connector. Once complete, it will link the Catawba River Greenway to an existing greenway segment adjacent to North Green Street. The FFST terminates as the greenway transitions into a typical sidewalk in front of the Fonta Flora Brewery in downtown Morganton.

The only major bridge in this section is an existing greenway bridge over Silver Creek.

7

TRAIL FEATURES Trailheads Two existing trailheads are noted within this planning section. The River Village commercial center provides centrally-located greenway access. Trail users accessing the greenway from Catawba Meadows Park will travel south to the FFST.

Crossings This planning section features one (1) major road crossing and one (1) major bridge. A surface crossing will be necessary at Sanford Drive just south of Bouchelle Street. There, Mor-

64

ganton’s future greenway connector will cross from Catawba Meadows Park to the new Mountain View Elementary School and Morganton recreation and aquatic center. The Sanford Drive crossing will require treatment appropriate to signal motorists of trail users.

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

8 PHOTOS:

(7) THE CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY IS A CERTIFIED SEGMENT OF THE OVNHT. (8) DOWNTOWN MORGANTON IS THE EASTERN TERMINUS OF THE FFST.


Y IT T

N TO

N

A

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G R O M

PL A N

F O R

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JU N O TI

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ROCKY FORD ACCESS

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RO C YORK

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TRAIL FEATURES

TRAILHEAD

#

ROAD CROSSING

#

EN

MAJOR BRIDGE PUBLIC LAND

LANDOWNER SENTIMENT

YES

ST P A

RK

NO

ENLE

GRE

R ST

A POPL

LE SPRINGDA

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EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

D

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ALTERNATE TRAIL ROUTE

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PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

R

S

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CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY AND SOCCER COMPLEX

ROCK YFOR

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EXISTING LOCAL TRAIL

PROPOSED FFST ON

N KIN G RIVER VILLAGE E N T ERR AC COMMERCIAL WO N A NDE OD PE CENTER RS FFST EASTERN AR ON SO KI TERMINUS N N

WBA R IVER

FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL

COMPLETED FFST

BRISTOL

EE

FREEDOM PARK

FFST ON PROPOSED LOCAL TRAIL

PARK

126 64

MORGANTON

RINK

LL

CATA

E DE NC EN EP

MI

POWE

EVANS

E BI N

IND

WALKER MOREHEAD

SU

TT A

PINE

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BRANSTROM

BOST

MULL

WILBURM NEWTON

JIM WALL

BROO KSTO

NE

HARBINSON

TRUAX BE

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LIA GARD EN CAMEL

ERVIN

PROPOSED GREENWAY

126 181

RK

W

S EN PH WHISPERING PIN E EMORY WOOD

FOX

PREFERRED TRAIL ROUTE

MIT

ST E

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AY

D

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O W S

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SUM

CL

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KIMBERLY

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126 181

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126 64

MAP 11: PLANNING SECTION 4

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY >> DOWNTOWN MORGANTON

C

SECTION 4

POSITIVE 0

1/4

1/2

1 MI.

NO RESPONSE

N

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

65


66

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


EXHIBIT 9:

GET DOWN WITH THE TRAIL TOWN

Downtown Morganton is the eastern terminus of the Fonta Flora State Trail. The trail utilizes an existing greenway segment that enters the northwest end of downtown where N. Green Street and N. Sterling Street diverge. In the near future, the City of Morganton will update this section of greenway in conjunction with new development. Cyclists must cross to merge with the flow of traffic.

EXISTING

CHAPTER 4: Recommendations

67


5

I MP L E ME N TAT I O N THE CORE PURPOSE OF THIS CHAPTER IS TO HIGHLIGHT THE FOUR (4) IMPLEMENTATION SECTIONS, INCLUDING THE MAJOR STEPS NECESSARY FOR COMPLETING THE TRAIL. THIS CHAPTER POSITIONS FFST AND OVNHT STAKEHOLDERS FOR ACTION.

Burke County will initially serve as the lead agency to manage the development of the FFST, but will work in partnership with NC Division of State Parks, the National Park Service and OVNHT leaders, the City of Morganton, community stakeholders,

IN THIS CHAPTER: A| IMPLEMENTATION BY SECTION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

pertains to planning, construction, management,

B| PRIORITY IMPLEMENTATION AREAS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

and maintenance of the trail.

C| TRAIL RUBICON

volunteers, land managers, and landowners as it

D| TRAIL SUPPORT SPECTRUM E| TRAIL MANAGEMENT

69


TRAIL IMPLEMENTATION The table below provides key implementation information associated with each planning section. Key Challenges include a summary of the most difficult barriers for realizing each trail section. Many of these barriers include costly features or note the need to acquire trail easements from private landowners. Most importantly, this table assigns an Implementing Agency to each planning section.

IMPLEMENTATION DETAILS BY SECTION AND RESPONSIBILITY SECTION

DISTANCE

KEY CHALLENGES

ESTIMATED BUDGET

IMPLEMENTING AGENCY

SECTION 1 Fonta Flora Brewery to Powerhouse Rd.

7.0

Canal Bridge Crossing; NCDOT Side Paths along Benfields Landing Rd. and Powerhouse Rd; Benfields Landing Crossing; Muddy Creek Bridge Crossing; Securing Landowner Trail Easements

$515,476.00

Burke County

SECTION 2 Powerhouse Rd. to Watermill River Access

5.7

Securing Landowner Trail Easements; Catawba River Bridge; Watermill Glen Alpine Rd. Underpass

$1,047,396.00

Burke County

4.6

Securing Landowner Trail Easements

$145,728.00

Burke County, City of Morganton

4.0

Sanford Drive Crossing

$623,623.00

City of Morganton

SECTION 3 Watermill River Access to Catawba River Greenway SECTION 4 Catawba River Greenway to Downtown Morganton

ALL SECTIONS TOTAL

21.3

$2,331,860.00

* Estimated budget shown above pertains only to the completion of the preferred FFST route and does not include existing, constructed trail segments.

70

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


PRIORITY IMPLEMENTATION AREAS & RESPONSIBILITIES Burke County and Morganton must work in tandem to successfully realize the FFST. Trail implementation does not have to occur in a specific, linear order according to each planning section. In fact, the priority areas for implementation are merely suggestions and are in no way intended to hem creativity or necessary work in “lower” priority areas. Trail implementation is an art and requires the acumen to recognize and then seize opportunities, whether related to funding, landowner willingness, or politics. The table below supports a trail development strategy that prioritizes areas west of Watermill River Access (sections 1 and 2). If these were to be fully developed, this would likely provide the formula for “Trail Rubicon,” the point in which the public, elected officials, and partnership funding agencies recognize that connectivity and complete implementation is imminent. At this point significant momentum and synergy would propel forward the completion of the FFST and OVNHT from Lake James to Morganton.

TRAIL RUBICON: FINDING THE POINT OF NO RETURN Think snowball effect. Development of these trail sections will result in widespread support and a collective energy, beyond that of the community’s traditional trail support base. These sections represent the Trail Rubicon: the point at which completion of the FFST from Lake James to Morganton becomes imminent.

1. FONTA FLORA BREWERY TO POWERHOUSE ROAD 2. POWERHOUSE ROAD TO WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

TRAIL RUBICON

PRIORITY IMPLEMENTATION AREAS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IMPLEMENTING AGENCY

PRIORITY ONE

PRIORITY TWO

Burke County

Section 1: Fonta Flora Brewery to Powerhouse Road

Section 2: Powerhouse Road to Watermill River Access

City of Morganton

Section 4: Greenway connector to Downtown

Section 4: Enhancements to Eastern Terminus

CHAPTER 5: IMPLEMENTATION

71


TRAIL IMPLEMENTATION Creating a destination-quality trail system requires a significant commitment from local governments, including staff time, the holding of land and trail easements, and the dedication of local funding. Local governments must evaluate the FFST in relationship to other priorities. However, a trail of this magnitude should be recognized as an economic development initiative that will provide a return on investment. Furthermore, each jurisdiction must not merely spend local funds, but instead must leverage their funds to obtain support from partnership funding agencies sympathetic to the creation of trails and the FFST. The “Trail Support Spectrum� illustrates the steps local governments can take to support trail development.

72

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


TRAIL SUPPORT SPECTRUM

5 4 3 2 1

CHAPTER 5: IMPLEMENTATION

73


TRAIL MANAGEMENT MAINTENANCE Trail maintenance is critical to provide for and sustain the trail users’ experience. Trail maintenance will primarily consist of ensuring that the trail corridor is trimmed of brush and vegetation and that the natural surface trail is de-bermed and clear of fallen debris. Volunteer training and participation is an important aspect of user group involvement. Burke County will explore trail building volunteer training with members of the Professional Trail Builders Association. Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding is often available for educational courses and may require matching funds. Burke County or a non-profit “Friends” group could sponsor these courses and provide the matching funds for interested volunteers. By training volunteers in this manner, it demonstrates a significant commitment by the participant and “Friends” group at great benefit to the landowners, land managers, and Burke County. An adequate level of law enforcement should be provided to help maintain a safe and secure trail environment. Trail users should also be educated and encouraged to understand and obey trail rules, respect other users, and respect adjoining properties.

TRAIL RULES WILL BE POSTED AT EACH TRAILHEAD.

74

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN


TRAIL FUNDING

LEVERAGING FUNDS RELATED TO OTHER COMMUNITY GOALS

FERC RELICENSING

Burke County and its municipalities should also seek a combination of funding sources that include local, state, federal, and private money. Fortunately, the benefits of protected greenways are many and varied. This allows programs in Burke County to access money earmarked for a variety of purposes including water quality, hazard mitigation, recreation, alternate transportation, wildlife protection, community health, and economic development.

Constructing and maintaining the various sections of the FFST will require leveraging funds from both public and private entities. At this time, the largest funding contribution comes directly from Duke Energy, as a result of the Comprehensive Relicensing Agreements (CRA) for the Catawba-Wateree Project. Trail development funds are included in CRA 10.27.2.3 in the amount of $500,000 for construction of the FFST. Another $600,000 is included in CRA 10.27.4.3 for the OVNHT.

EVERYONE WORKING TOGETHER In addition to the contributions from Duke Energy, it will be necessary for Lake James State Park, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NCDOT, NPS, Burke County, and others to contribute financial resources to this project. A conservative estimate to construct the entire FFST and its associated trailheads from Lake James to Morganton is approximately 1.75 million dollars.

LOCAL LEADERSHIP

Availability of funds targeted directly for trail use has decreased in recent years, so it is imperative that local governments work together to create multi-jurisdictional partnerships and to develop their own local sources of funding. These sources can then be used to leverage outside assistance. For the past two decades, a variety of funding has been used throughout North Carolina to support the planning, design, and construction of urban and rural bicycle and greenway projects. The largest single source of funding for these projects has come from the Surface Transportation Act; the North Carolina Department of Transportation manages and distributes the majority of federal funds that are derived from the Act to support the development of bicycle/trail development.

Implementing the recommendations of this plan will require a strong level of local support and commitment through a variety of local funding mechanisms. Perhaps most important is the addition of bicycle and greenway infrastructure as an item within the Burke County annual budget. These improvements should become a high priority and be supported through portions of the funding currently used for public safety, streets, parks and recreation, planning, community development, travel and tourism, and local bonds.

CHAPTER 5: IMPLEMENTATION

75


A

APPENDIX

I


(A-1) IMPLEMENTATION BUDGET SECTION 1- FONTA FLORA BREWERY TO POWERHOUSE ROAD

UNITS (LF)

UNIT COST

Dual Use Trail (5ft. Natural Surface) NCDOT Sidepath (8ft. Paved Path) Typical Greenway - Brewery Trailhead Spur (10ft. Paved Path) Road Crossings Major Bridges

35376 1056 400 3 2

$6 $120 $25 $5,500 $75,000 Total Section Cost

SECTION 2- POWERHOUSE ROAD TO WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS

UNITS

Dual Use Trail (5ft. Natural Surface) Multi-Use Path (8ft. Crushed Gravel Fines) Road Crossings Major Bridges

24816 5280 3 1

SECTION 3- WATERMILL RIVER ACCESS TO CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY Dual Use Trail (5ft. Natural Surface) Road Crossings Major Bridges

UNITS

UNIT COST

24288 0 0

$6 N/A N/A

CATAWBA RIVER GREENWAY TO DOWNTOWN MORGANTON

Typical Greenway Connector (10ft. Paved Path) Road Crossings Major Bridges

UNITS

6864 1 0

$6 $25 $5,500 $750,000 Total Section Cost

$90 $5,500 N/A Total Section Cost

II

FONTA FLORA STATE TRAIL: LAKE JAMES TO MORGANTON MASTER PLAN

212,256.00 126,720.00 10,000.00 16,500.00 150,000.00 515,476.00 TOTAL COST

$ $ $ $ $

148,896.00 132,000.00 16,500.00 750,000.00 1,047,396.00 TOTAL COST

$

145,728.00 N/A N/A

$

145,728.00

UNIT COST

TOTAL * Does not include land acquisition, engineering, or design. * Does not include existing segments of trail or bridges on existing trails.

$ $ $ $ $ $

UNIT COST

Total Section Cost SECTION 4-

TOTAL COST

TOTAL COST

$ $ $

$

617,760.00 5,500.00 N/A 623,260.00

2,331,860.00


(A2) FUNDING SOURCES Partnership Funding Agency

Active Living/ BuiltEnvironment Implications

Maximum Amount

Matching Funds Required

Deadline

BUILD

Construction, provided easements are secured

N/A (min. $1 million)

$0 (for rural counties)

May (typical)

N/A

Not speciďŹ ed, but 20% is competitive

February 1st

N/A

50%

January 1st and June 1st

$100,000.00

25%

February 1st

All types of parks, trails, and recreation facilities

$500,000.00

50%

February 1st

Trails and Greenways

$10,000.00

20%

May 24th

Bike and Pedestrian Projectsboth engineering and construction

N/A (for major projects)

20% generally

N/A

Clean Water Management Trust Fund (www.cwmtf.net)

NC Water Resources (www.ncwater.org) Recreation Trails Program (ncparks.gov/About/grants/main.php) Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (ncparks.gov/About/grants/main.php) Bikes Belong Foundation

NCDOT Transportation Plan For Bike and Pedestrian Projects

Land acquisition: fee simple or easement. Must protect oodplain areas. Greenway trails and other park areas are allowed. River access areas or greenways along rivers All types of trails and greenways

CHAPTER A: APPENDIX

III


Fonta Flora State Trail Master Plan - Lake James to Morganton  

This trail master plan serves as a road map for establishing the Fonta Flora State Trail from Lake James, in Burke County, to the City of Mo...

Fonta Flora State Trail Master Plan - Lake James to Morganton  

This trail master plan serves as a road map for establishing the Fonta Flora State Trail from Lake James, in Burke County, to the City of Mo...