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COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL STRATEGIC PLAN A S EC T I ON O F THE MO UN TAI NS-TO-SEA TRAI L

WINTER 2018


PRODUCED FOR:

IN COOPERATION WITH:

PRODUCED BY:

WWW.DBDPLANNING.COM

WITH SUPPORT FROM:

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Board of Directors Steve Metcalf, President

Tiffiny Consoli

John Lanman, Vice President

James K. Coward

Bill Scott, Treasurer

Chris Grams

Carolyn Sakowski, Secretary

Howard Lee

Jerry Barker

Les Love

Don Bergey

Carolyn Mejia

Jake Blood

Tammy Proctor

Marcia Bromberg

B Townes

Millie Chalk

Greg Yahn

Project Coordinator Kipling Godwin, Kipling Godwin & Associates

Staff Kate Dixon, Executive Director

Shelagh Doyle, Membership Associate

Betsy Brown, Outreach Manager

Jim Grode, Trail Resource Manager

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CONTENTS CHAPTERS

MAPS

EXHIBITS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.................................................................1

Map 1: MST Current Route and CCT Study Area.............. 6

Exhibit 1: Priority Focus Area 1................................................36

1 INTRODUCTION.........................................................................5

Map 2: Segment 1 Site Analysis............................................... 12

Exhibit 2: Priority Focus Area 2..............................................38

A Background and Study Area

Map 3: Segment 2 Site Analysis..............................................14

Exhibit 3: Priority Focus Area 3............................................. 40

B Planning Process

Map 4: Segment 3 Site Analysis..............................................16

Exhibit 4: Priority Focus Area 4............................................ 44

C Planning Goal

Map 5: Segment 4 Site Analysis..............................................18

Exhibit 5: Priority Focus Area 5............................................. 48

D Planning Outcome

Map 6: Planning Segments.......................................................32

Exhibit 6: Priority Focus Area 6............................................ 50

Map 7: Planning Segment 1.......................................................35

Exhibit 7: Priority Focus Area 7..............................................54

Map 8: Priority Focus Area 1..................................................... 37

Exhibit 8: Priority Focus Area 8..............................................56

2 OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS.........................11 A Planning Segment Site Analysis

3 PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT.........................................................21 A Spreading the Word

Map 9: Priority Focus Area 2...................................................39 Map 10: Priority Focus Area 3...................................................41

B Meeting Format

Map 11: Planning Segment 2.....................................................43

C Workshop Overviews

Map 12: Priority Focus Area 4..................................................45

D Land Manager & Public Agency Comment

Map 13: Planning Segment 3....................................................47

4 RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................... 31

Map 14: Priority Focus Area 5................................................. 49

A Planning Segments Overview

Map 15: Priority Focus Area 6................................................... 51

B Planning Segment Recommendations

Map 16: Planning Segment 4....................................................53

5 IMPLEMENTATION................................................................. 59

Map 17: Priority Focus Area 7..................................................55

A Implementation Action Items

Map 18: Priority Focus Area 8.................................................. 57

B Signage Framework

Map 19: All Priority Focus Areas.............................................65

C Implementation of Priority Focus Areas

APPENDICES 1 CCT Enabling Legislation..................................................... 68 2 CCT Legislative Fiscal Note................................................ 69 3 Estimated Costs of Trail Types.......................................... 70

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BACKGROUND The Coastal Crescent Trail (CCT) is an approximately 270-mile long hiking route that passes through the diverse natural and historic landscapes and welcoming communities of southeastern North Carolina. Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends) created the Coastal Crescent route in 2014 to provide an interesting, enjoyable way for Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) hikers to cross the Coastal Plain. The CCT takes hikers through the Cape Fear Arch and Onslow Bight, two geologic regions that scientists consider among the most ecologically-significant places in North America. These areas, home to rare species of wildlife and native plants, encompass intriguing Carolina Bays, longleaf pine savannas, marshes, pocosins and barrier islands. More than 220,000 acres of public conservation land lie along the route of the CCT, and conservationists are working steadily to protect more. The trail also traverses places of historic significance including sites of the most important Revolutionary and Civil War battles fought in North Carolina. The route passes through six counties (Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender, and Onslow) and seven municipalities (Newton Grove, Roseboro, White Lake, Burgaw, Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and Jacksonville). Many residents of the area have enthusiastically welcomed the CCT to their communities and offer hospitality to hikers on their statewide treks. Approximately 72 miles of the CCT currently follow trails, unpaved forest roads, the beach, sidewalk and greenways, and approximately 198 miles are on connecting roads. Because the CCT will be most successful if sections

that now follow roads can be shifted to trail, Friends sought funding from the Duke Energy Foundation in Spring 2016 to write this strategic plan to engage citizens and community leaders in 1) developing a vision for the trail and 2) identifying opportunities for moving road sections of the route onto trail. In June 2017, in recognition of the recreation, conservation, and economic potential of the CCT, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill by unanimous vote to make the CCT an official part of the MST. The bill directs the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to begin working cooperatively with Friends to plan and develop the CCT as part of the MST.

PLANNING PROCESS The planning process was conducted in four phases:

1 RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: the area was studied to explore opportunities and constraints for trail development and to develop exploratory routes for off-road trail.

2 PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: four stakeholder meetings were held and proposed trail routes and priorities were re-evaluated in light of public input.

3 PLAN DEVELOPMENT: exploratory routes were refined, priority areas for trail development identified, and the report drafted.

4 PLAN FINALIZATION: the draft report was circulated to stakeholders and their comments were incorporated in the final version.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS

IMPLEMENTATION

The plan identifies eight focus areas where compelling opportunities exist to construct new sections of the CCT totaling 67.5 miles. These opportunities exist because of landownership; special natural, historic or man-made features; and tourism, recreation or flood control needs. These new trails can provide valuable recreational and tourism benefits as stand-alone trails while also helping to piece together a continuous long-distance section of the MST. The Priority Focus Areas include:

The plan lays out actions for Friends, State Parks and other partners to take in 2018 through 2020 to implement the plan with a particular focus on signing the route and on working with land managing agencies and private landowners to further plan, develop and build trail in the priority focus areas. Detailed matrices laying out the action steps and lead agencies can be found in Chapter 5: Implementation.

1 JOHNSTON COUNTY: Bentonville Battlefield

Approx. Trail Miles: 7

2 SAMPSON COUNTY: Pondberry Bay and Downtown Roseboro

Approx. Trail Miles: 7

3 CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Bushy Lake State Natural Area

Approx. Trail Miles: 4

4 BLADEN COUNTY: The Three Lakes

Approx. Trail Miles: 10

5 BLADEN AND PENDER COUNTIES: Cape Fear River Levee

Approx. Trail Miles: 14.5

6 PENDER COUNTY: Northeast Cape Fear River Ferry

Approx. Trail Miles: 4.5

7 PENDER COUNTY: Holly Shelter Game Land

Approx. Trail Miles: 6

8 ONSLOW COUNTY: Camp LeJeune-Croatan Rail-with-Trail Approx. Trail Miles: 14

Detailed information about each of these areas can be found in Chapter 4: Recommendations.

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CONCLUSION MST thru-hikers already follow and enjoy the CCT as they complete their statewide treks, but the trail will be most successful when more sections of the route are shifted off-road. This strategic plan provides vision and guidance for steps that can be taken now to transform the CCT into a community asset, used and loved by local residents and renowned as one of the great trails of North Carolina.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Greene

Lee

Pitt Beaufort Priority Focus Areas

Harnett

Johnston 1

BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELDWayne

Lenoir

Cap eF

ver r Ri ea

Sampson Cumberland

2

Hoke BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

3

Jones Duplin

PONDBERRY BAY AND DOWNTOWN ROSEBORO

Craven

1

CAMP LEJEUNECROATAN RAIL WITH

TRAIL

Onslow Robeson

THE THREE LAKES

er

Ca pe Fe ar Ri v

NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR RIVER FERRY

Pender 4 6

Bladen Columbus

CAPE FEAR RIVER LEVEE

Carteret 8

HOLLY SHELTER GAMELAND

7

5

Brunswick

New Hanover 3


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1

INTRODUCTION

THIS MASTER PLAN SERVES AS A ROAD MAP FOR ESTABLISHING THE COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL (CCT) ROUTE OF THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA TRAIL (MST). The CCT is approximately 270 miles in length and passes through six counties and seven municipalities within the southeastern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Approximately 72 miles of the CCT currently follow trails, unpaved forest roads, the beach, sidewalk and greenways, and approximately 198 miles are on connecting roads. The CCT will be most successful if sections that now follow roads can be shifted to trail.

IN THIS CHAPTER: A Background and Study Area B Planning Process C Planning Goal D Planning Outcomes

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MAP 1: MST CURRENT ROUTE AND CCT STUDY AREA

Chapter 1

Winston Salem Greensboro Durham hickory

raleigh

asheville

Greenville

1 Charlotte Fayetteville Jacksonville

North Carolina Mountains to Sea trail Urban areas

2

Conservation Managed areas

4

3 Wilmington

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Coastal Crescent trail Study area


INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND AND STUDY AREA In Spring 2016, the Duke Energy Foundation provided a grant to Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends) to conduct a planning study of the Coastal Crescent Trail (CCT). Friends created the CCT to provide a way for Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) users to hike through the Coastal Plain because a trail along the original planned route on the Neuse River is expected to take decades to build. (In the meantime, Friends also established paddling the Neuse as an alternative way to complete the entire MST.) MST users started following the CCT route in 2014 and even more so after Friends published accompanying trail guides in Spring 2015. Friends recognized the need to further improve the route to take advantage of existing public lands and other unique features located throughout the study area. The current CCT route runs approximately 270 miles through the diverse natural and historic landscapes and welcoming communities of southeastern North Carolina. The trail takes hikers through the Cape Fear Arch and Onslow Bight, two geologic regions that scientists consider among the most ecologically-significant areas in North America. These areas, home to unusual species of wildlife and native plants, encompass intriguing Carolina Bays, longleaf pine savannas, marshes, pocosins, and barrier islands. More than 220,000 acres of public conservation land lie along the route of the CCT and conservationists are working steadily to add additional acres to protect rare species, provide places for people to enjoy the outdoors, buffer military bases from inappropriate adjacent development, and protect the natural beauty and quality of life in the area.

The trail also highlights the rich human history of this part of North Carolina. Examples of historic places along the route include: Coharie Creek in Sampson County, home to members of the Coharie Native American Tribe; Moores Creek National Battlefield in Pender County, site of one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War; Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County, site of the largest Civil War battle in North Carolina; and concrete observation towers on Topsail Island that date from World War II.

NC General Assembly passed a bill by unanimous vote in June 2017 to make the CCT an official part of the MST. The bill directs the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to work cooperatively with Friends to plan and develop the CCT route. The bill makes the CCT eligible for all state park funds and programs designated for the MST. A copy of the bill and its fiscal note are included in the Appendix of this plan.

The route passes through six counties (Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender and Onslow) and seven Cape Fear Arch and Onslow Bight Conservation Areas municipalities (Newton Grove, Roseboro, White Lake, Burgaw, Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and Jacksonville). Many residents of the area – both urban and rural – have enthusiastically welcomed the CCT to their communities and offer hospitality to hikers on their statewide treks. In recognition of the recreation, conservation, and economic potential of the CCT, the

Map by NC Longleaf Coalition

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Chapter 1

PLANNING GOAL

The 270-mile CCT route is divided into four planning segments:

» » Segment 1 (MST Segment 12): Howell Woods

» » Segment 3 (MST Segment 14): Singletary Lake

Environmental Education Center to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land

State Park to Holly Shelter Game Land

» » Segment 2 (MST Segment 13): Suggs Mill Pond

» » Segment 4 (MST Segment 15): Holly Shelter Game Land to Stella on the White Oak River

Game Land to Singletary Lake State Park

PLANNING PROCESS

The goal of this strategic plan was to work with citizens and leaders along the trail route to develop a vision for the future trail, identify opportunities for trail construction in the near-term, and involve more people in trail development and support for hikers.

PLANNING OUTCOMES 1 TRAIL ROUTE ALTERNATIVES. Identify trail route alternatives that expand upon the current Coastal Crescent Trail route promoted by Friends.

2 FOCUS AREAS FOR IMPLEMENTATION.

JUNE - SEPT. ‘16 PHASE 1:

•Conduct site visit of study area •Map opportunities, constraints, and draft exploratory routes

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OCT. - NOV. ‘16 PHASE 2:

•Conduct stakeholder meetings throughout the study area •Re-evaluate trail routes and priorities

NOV. ‘16 - JAN. ‘18 PHASE 3:

•Develop final alternative routes •Identify priority focus areas for implementation •Write and publish report for distribution

Identify priority focus areas where Friends and its local partners can focus initial trail building efforts.

3 COMMUNITY OUTREACH. Engage civic leaders and other stakeholders to evaluate and determine final trail route opportunities.


INTRODUCTION

FRIENDS CREATED THE COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL TO PROVIDE AN INTERESTING, ENJOYABLE ROUTE FOR MST HIKERS IN THE COASTAL PLAIN.

Surf City Boardwalk

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2 STUDY AREA ANALYSIS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS USING THE CURRENT COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL ROUTE AS THE FOUNDATION, THE CONSULTANT PLANNING TEAM CONDUCTED AN EXTENSIVE SITE VISIT OF THE ENTIRE STUDY AREA AND EXPLORED POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TRAIL ROUTES. The result of this analysis was the identification of trail development opportunities and constraints. Accordingly, this chapter highlights these features in a map and photographic series associated with each of the four planning segments.

IN THIS CHAPTER: A Planning Segments Site Analysis

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Chapter 2

1 1

3

4 2

3

5

1 3

Johnston 7

6

Sampson 8 9

Cumberland 2 3

Onslow

4

11 12

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

12

10

Carteret

2

MAP 2: SEGMENT 1 SITE ANALYSIS

Segment 1: Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land


STUDY AREA ANALYSIS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS OPPORTUNITIES

CONSTRAINTS

1

Trailhead and camping facilities available at 2,800 acre Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center

1

Narrow shoulders on Devils Racetrack Rd. need to be widened to accommodate a sidepath for hiker safety.

2

Opportunity to connect to Tuscarora Boy Scout Camp

2

3

Trailhead at the 2000+ acre Bentonville Battlefield

Vehicular bridge across I-40 needs safety improvements to accommodate trail users

Connect to downtown Newton Grove

3

4

US Highway 421 bridge across Little Coharie Creek requires safety upgrades for pedestrians

5

Interest by the Coharie Tribe in trails along Great Coharie Creek

6

2100 acres of conserved lands in Pondberry Bay Preserve

7

Connect to downtown Salemburg and Laurel Lakes Campground

8

Connect to downtown Roseboro

9

Discontinued rail right-of- way through downtown Roseboro

10

6,343 acres of conserved land at Bushy Lake State Natural Area

1

Trailhead at Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center

9

3

Trailhead at Bentonville Battlefield

10 Utilize public lands at Bushy Lake State Natural Area.

6

Utilize conserved lands at Pondberry Bay Preserve

2

8

Connect to downtown Roseboro

Utilize former rail right-of-way through downtown Roseboro.

Lack of pedestrian facilities on I-40 bridge crossing

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Chapter 2

MAP 3: SEGMENT 2 SITE ANALYSIS

Segment 2: Suggs Mill Pond Game Land to Singletary Lake State Park 10

11 12

13 6

14 1

15

Johnston

16 4

5

17

Sampson

18

Cumberland 2 3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

14

19


STUDY AREA ANALYSIS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

OPPORTUNITIES 11

56,000 acres of conservation lands in this planning segment managed by multiple public and nonprofit landowners

12

11,044 acres of land and miles of unpaved forest road within Suggs Mill Pond Game Land

13

Trailhead at Harmony Hall Plantation

14

Existing forest roads in Bladen Lake State Forest

15

Existing trails, campsites, and trailhead at visitor center in Jones Lake State Park

16

Existing trails and service roads within Turnbull Educational State Forest

17

Connect to downtown Elizabethtown

18

Trailhead and lodging in downtown White Lake

19

Existing trails and trailhead at park office in Singletary Lake State Park

CONSTRAINTS 4

Turnbull Creek crossing requires a foot bridge

5

Non-signalized intersection of US-701 and White Lake Drive needs pedestrian upgrades

6

Colly Creek crossing requires a bridge or culvert

15 Trailhead and existing trail system aat Jones Lake State Park

19 Trailhead and existing trail system at Singletary Lake State Park

16 Utilize existing trails within Turnbull Educational Forest

5

Potentially dangerous highway crossing in White Lake

18 Trailhead and lodging in downtown White Lake

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Chapter 2

6

14 15

16 28 4

27

5

17

18

11

32 19

30

MAP 4: SEGMENT 3 SITE ANALYSIS

Segment 3: Singletary Lake State Park to Holly Shelter Game Land

26 8 10

9

23 1 Johnston

7

21

Sampson Cumberland

3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

16

29

31 33

20

2

24 25

22


STUDY AREA ANALYSIS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS OPPORTUNITIES 20

Existing trail system within 1,663-acre Whitehall Plantation Game Land

CONSTRAINTS 7

Black River crossing will require a major foot bridge

8

Non-signalized intersection of US-421 and Piney Woods Road requires pedestrian upgrades

21

14.5-mile White Oak Dike levee system

22

New State Park proposed along the Black River

9

Long Creek crossings will require a bridge or culvert

23

Existing trail and trailhead at Moores Creek National Battlefield

10

Deep drainage ditches adjacent to NC 53 may conflict with trail facilities

24

Connect to downtown Burgaw

11

25

2.2-mile Osgood Canal Greenway in Burgaw

Vehicular bridge across I-40 needs safety upgrades for pedestrians

26

Unused rail line between Burgaw and Watha

27

Connect to downtown Watha

28

24,483 acres of conserved land at Angola Bay Game Land

29

Connect to Bannerman Vineyard and Winery

30

River ferry landing at White Stocking Boat Access

31

River ferry landing at Holly Shelter Boat Access

32

Connect to WRC Shelter Creek Boat Access.

20 Utilize existing trail system Whitehall Plnatation Gameland

32

Connect to boat acces areas in Holly Shelter Game Land

11

21

Utilize White Oak Dike levee system

7

Black River crossing will require a major bridge

Vehicular bridge over Interstate 40 will require upgrades

24 Connect to downtown Burgaw

26

Connect Burgaw and Watha via discontinued rail line

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Chapter 2

14

44 45

MAP 5: SEGMENT 4 SITE ANALYSIS

Segment 4: Holly Shelter Game Land to Stella on the White Oak River

46 47 15

28

11

43 32

30 26 42 24 25

29

1

31

Johnston

41

33

13

Sampson Cumberland

40 34 12

35

36

2

39

3

37 38

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

18


STUDY AREA ANALYSIS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS OPPORTUNITIES 33

Existing forest roads in 64,743-acre Holly Shelter Game Land

34

Existing and planned expansion of pedestrian network in Surf City

35

Connect to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue

36

Connect to planned greenway in Surf CIty

37

Existing paths in Soundside Park

38

Connect to downtown Surf City

39

Operation Bumblee Towers are a point of interest on the trail.

40

Beach section of current route provides unique trail experience

41

Trailhead opportunity at Onslow County Environmental Education Center

42

Jeep roads and trails within Stones Creek Game Land

43

Existing tank periphery roads on Camp LeJeune base parallel to US Highway 17

CONSTRAINTS 12

US 17 and NC 210 need pedestrian upgrades

13

Nc Highway 210 bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway needs pedestrian updgrades.

14

44

15

34

Utilize existing and expanding sidewalk network in Surf City

33

Utilize existing forest roads in Holly Shelter Game Land.

37

Utilize existing pathways in Soundside Park

46

Trailhead at Reverend E.W. Wooten Park

40

Beach section provides unique trail experience

45

Utilize Jacksonville rail-to-trail and pedestrian bridges

42

Utilize jeep roads within Stones Creek Gameland

47

Opportunity of rail-with-trail fromCamp LeJeune to Cherry Point

Highway interchange at US 17 and NC 24 needs pedestrian upgrades Divided highway crossing at Holcomb Bridge needs pedestrian upgrades

Connect to downtown Jacksonville

45

5.2 mile Jacksonville Rail-Trail Greenway and pedestrian bridges over NC-24 and the New River

46

Trailhead at Reverend E. W. Wooten Park

47

Wide right-of-way along rail line between Camp LeJeune and Cherry Point Marine Bases

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3 PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PUBLIC OUTREACH WAS A KEY COMPONENT OF THE PLANNING PROCESS. A public forum was conducted in each of the four Planning Segments. This chapter describes the effort to engage stakeholders, land managers, and the general public in planning for the CCT.

IN THIS CHAPTER: A Spreading the Word B Meeting Format C Workshop Overviews D Land Manager and Public Agency Comment

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Chapter 3

SPREADING THE WORD The public was notified of the forums in five ways: through the media, by flyers distributed in public places, by an e-mail to people on the Friends list who live and work in the CCT area, and by postings on the Friends website and Facebook page. Forty-five citizens and stakeholders including local elected officials, volunteers, and hikers attended the workshops.

Page 16 of 18

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PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

MEETING FORMAT The public forums used an open-house format that allowed participants to attend at any time over a two-hour period. The Project Coordinator and Friends staff were on hand to facilitate discussion and answer questions, and attendees were invited to share their ideas at three stations:

STATION #1: FOCUS QUESTIONS Attendees were encouraged to write answers to questions posted on easel pads about 1) points of interest in the area of the trail, 2) marketing strategies, and 3) obstacles to trail development.

STATION #2: EXPLORATORY ROUTE MAPS Maps of each planning segment were provided to allow attendees to learn more about the segment and the current and proposed routes. Attendees were able to write directly on the maps to mark the location of ideas, opportunities, or barriers to the trail.

STATION #3: GENERAL COMMENTS Comment cards were provided to allow forum participants to share any ideas not captured in other ways.

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Chapter 3

SEGMENT 1: Roseboro Town Hall OCTOBER 25, 2016 KEY COMMENTS AND FINDINGS »» Points of interest: Herring House and Old Brick Kiln in Roseboro »» Roseboro provides an opportunity for hikers to resupply at local grocery, convenience, and hardware stores »» Opportunity to use former CSX rail bed for trail route »» Trail Angels noted positive experience with hikers »» Creek in Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve will require a bridge »» Avoid new highway interchange at NC 24 and 242 »» Opportunity for spur trail in Pondberry Bay to Lakewood Country Club »» Former Roseboro Jail could be renovated to provide basic lodging for hikers »» Additional MST signage is needed

AT TEN DEES

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Alice Butler

Roland Hall

Greg Butler

Mac McPhail

Sadie Newkirk


PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

SEGMENT 2: White Lake Town Hall

OCTOBER 4, 2016 KEY COMMENTS AND FINDINGS »» Points of Interest: Jones Lake, Cape Fear Winery, Lu-Mil Winery »» General lack of knowledge about the trail in this area »» Suggestions for promoting the trail: signage, host guided day hikes, smart phone app, feature on Chamber of Commerce and Healthy Bladen websites »» Locations for re-supply, meals, and lodging along the trail: Dollar General, Sunoco, Scotchman, Goldstons Restaurant, Ski Burger, and Camp Clearwater in the Town of White Lake »» Partner with Healthy Bladen initiative to promote the trail and outdoor activity for health purposes »» The Town of White Lake has received a PARTF grant to construct a multi-use trail that could become the permanent CCT route »» Opportunity for a route through Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest »» Opportunity to connect to Barnes Blueberry Farm

ATTEN D E E S Michael Bradley

Cathy Kinlaw

Linda Rivenbark

Karla Ward

Hope Campbell

Dawn Maynard

Mo Rivenbark

Joy Warren

Carl deAndrade

Tina Mundy

Patsy Teachey

Goldston Womble, Jr.

Dianne deAndrade

Smith Raynor

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Chapter 3

SEGMENT 3: Pender County Tourism Office, Burgaw

OCTOBER 5, 2016 KEY COMMENTS AND FINDINGS »» Immediate need for route signage »» Need to minimize distance between trailheads with amenities in this segment »» Need for public education on compatibility of hunting and hiking in game lands »» Point of interest: downtown Burgaw, walking tour highlights architecture »» Suggestions for promoting the trail: roadside signage, television ads, local retailers, targeted internet marking, online maps that link to local vendors and attractions, feature CCT on Town and County websites »» Locations for re-supply, meals, and lodging along the trail: Holland’s Fish Camp, local volunteer fire departments and churches, Hankins Park, campgrounds in Holly Shelter Game Land, sites along the Black River, new opening bed and breakfast in Burgaw »» Opportunity to use planned expansion of Surf City greenway »» Trails in Holly Shelter Game Land should be a priority »» Opportunity for route from Moores Creek National Battlefield to Penderlea »» Opportunity to use former rail line from Burgaw to Watha for trail route

AT TEN DEES

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Kyle Breuer

Tim Mathews

Todd Rademacher

Pat Simmons

Dayna Corcoran

Eugene Mulligan

Rebekah Roth

Richard Smith

Karen Harding

Tammy Proctor


PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

SEGMENT 4: Onslow County Environmental Education Center and Public Library, Sneads Ferry OCTOBER 6, 2016 KEY COMMENTS AND FINDINGS »» Concern for hiker safety and compatibility of hunting and hiking in game land »» Station first-aid kits along the route »» Potential for camping at Sneads Ferry Library »» Perimeter road along US 17 through Camp LeJeune would provide a safe alternative to the road route »» Point of interest: Missiles and More Museum at Topsail Beach, Hiswill Farm offers horseback riding for a section of the trail, Ocean City community, Solar Café offers free coffee to MST hikers »» Suggestions for promoting the trail: Feature CCT on town websites, Topsail TV, pamphlets in vacation rentals, road signage »» Locations for re-supply, meals, and lodging along the trail: Lanier’s Campground, Surf City Family Campground, Beach Bums Campground »» Provide gravel pads for tent camping along the route »» Roadside signage should be the highest priority

ATTEN D E E S Dawneva Evans

Jan Hoffman

Michael O’Neill

Cathy Supple

Sydney Grice

Peggy Holland

Jacques Revoir

Tim Supple

Jane Gurganus

Debbie Mallett

Michelle Revoir

Lisa Whitman-Grice

Wilbur Gurganus

Ray Mallett

Rich Schunell

Christopher Wilk

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Chapter 3

LAND MANAGER AND PUBLIC AGENCY COMMENT ON DRAFT PLAN Throughout the summer and fall of 2017, Friends of the MST leadership engaged with the land managing organizations and public agencies responsible for each of the major conservation lands and political jurisdictions along the trail route. Stakeholders and land managers who provided detailed feedback are listed below. Their ideas are incorporated into the recommendations in this plan.

CAMP LEJEUNE MARINE CORPS BASE

NC PLANT CONSERVATION PROGRAM

»» Tim McCurry, Marine Corps Liason, Government and External Relations

»» Cheryl L. Gregory, Program Administrator NC WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION

CITY OF JACKSONVILLE

JOHNSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

»» Chesley Ward, Game Land Management Biologist, Southern Coastal Ecoregion »» Richard Clark, Game Land Management Biologist, Central Coastal Ecoregion

»» Jordan T. Astoske, Director, Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center

TOWN OF ELIZABETHTOWN

JOHNSTON COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT

»» Eddie Madden, Town Manager

»» Berry Gray, Planning Director

TOWN OF ROSEBORO

»» Peggy Holland, Senior Transportation Planner

NC DIVISION OF HISTORICAL RESOURCES »» Donny Taylor, Manager, Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site NC DIVISION OF PARKS & RECREATION »» Scott Crocker, Superintendent of State Trails NC FOREST SERVICE »» Chris Meggs, Forest Supervisor, Turnbull Educational State Forest »» Hans-Christian Rohr, Forest Supervisor, Bladen Lakes State Forest NC NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM »» Misty Buchanan, Director

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»» Alice Butler, Mayor TOWN OF SURF CITY »» Todd Rademacher, Community Development Director TOWN OF WHITE LAKE »» H. Goldston Womble, Jr., Mayor US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS »» Carol M. Banaitis, Piedmont Operations Project Manager VILLAGE OF SNEADS FERRY »» Tim Supple, Village News


PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

MORE THAN 220,000 ACRES OF PUBLIC CONSERVATION LAND LIE ALONG THE ROUTE OF THE CCT

Jones Lake State Park

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4 RECOMMENDATIONS THIS CHAPTER SERVES AS THE HEART OF THE COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL MASTER PLAN. Exploratory routes and Priority Focus Areas are provided for the Coastal Crescent Trail in four planning segments. The planning segment maps also differentiate between complete and incomplete parts of the current trail route.

IN THIS CHAPTER: A Planning Segments Overview B Planning Segment Recommendations

31


Chapter 4

Lee

1 Harnett

Greene

Pitt

Beaufort

Johnston Wayne Lenoir

Cap eF

ver r Ri ea

Sampson

Jones

Cumberland

Duplin

Hoke

MAP 6: PLANNING SEGMENTS

The CCT study area from Howell Woods Environmental Education Center to Stella on the White Oak River is divided into four planning segments.

Craven

2

1

The CCT study area extends approximately 270 miles and is divided into four planning segments. Each segment begins and ends at a special place along the CCT. The planning segments include:

1 SEGMENT 1: Howell Woods Environmental Education Center to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land

2 SEGMENT 2: Suggs Mill Pond Game

4 3 Robeson

PLANNING SEGMENTS

Onslow

Land to Singletary Lake State Park

Carteret 3 SEGMENT 3: Singletary Lake State Park to Holly Shelter Game Land

Ca pe Fe ar Ri v

Pender

er

4 SEGMENT 4: Holly Shelter Game Land to Stella on the White Oak River

Bladen Columbus Brunswick

New Hanover

EIGHT PRIORIT Y FOCUS AREAS WERE IDENTIFIED THROUGH THE PLANNING PROCESS. THESE ARE LOCATIONS WHERE OPPORTUNITIES EXIST IN THE SHORT TERM TO IMPROVE THE TRAIL ROUTE BECAUSE OF THE AVAILABILIT Y OF PUBLIC CONSERVATION LAND, COMMUNIT Y INTEREST, FUNDING, AND OTHER RESOURCES.

32


ek re

DUPLIN COUNTY PENDER COUNTY

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p Northeast C a

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BUrGaW

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eO hit W

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EACH PLANNING SEGMENT IS ILLUSTRATED BY A MAP THAT A N HIGHLIGHTS CURRENT AND EXPLORATORY TRAIL ROUTES, C E O PRIORIT Y FOCUS AREAS, AND POINTS OF INTEREST IN THE SURROUNDING AREA.

SNeaDS FerrY

NOrth tOpSaIL BeaCh

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Current Complete Routes Current Incomplete Routes

r ea eF

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RECOMMENDATIONS

BOGUe SWaNSBOrO

R iv

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DIXON

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SaINt heLeNa

FOREST

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CROATAN NATIONAL

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pINeY GreeN

STONES CREEK GAMELAND

ast

N o rt

COUNTY

Stella

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MIDWaY parK

ONSLOW COUNTY

Fe a

ANGOLA BAY GAMELAND

pUMpKIN CeNter

JaCKSONVILLe

Exploratory Routes

er Riv

SUrF CItY

Priority Focus Areas County Boundaries

17

haMpSteaD

0

2.5

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10 Miles

tOpSaIL BeaCh

ABOUT THE MAPS Each planning segment is illustrated by a map that highlights current and exploratory trail routes, priority focus areas, and points of interest in the surrounding area. The current CCT route is identified as either complete (off-road trail, greenway, unpaved forest road, beach or sidewalk) or incomplete (on-road route). Exploratory off-road trail routes are also identified. These broad-brush, exploratory visions were developed through analysis of environmental features and insight provided by Friends, local residents, and local governments.

COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL: BY THE NUMBERS

270

>>

06 >> 07 >> 08 >>

APPROX. TRAIL MILES

QUICK FACTS Each Planning Segment overview begins with “Quick Facts” exhibit. This information includes the trail distance, Priority Focus Areas, and key assets associated with each Segment.

COUNTIES MUNICIPALITIES

QUICK FACTS - SEGMENT 1 Total Length: Approx. 64 miles

PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS

Priority Focus Areas

»» Bentonville Battlefield »» Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve and the Town of Roseboro »» Bushy Lake State Natural Area POINTS OF INTEREST

Further details are provided for each Priority Focus Area including a map, photos, overview data, and examples of similar projects in other locations.

»» 2,800-acre Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center; western terminus

Note: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

»» 2,100-acre Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve between Roseboro

of this Segment

»» Bentonville Battlefield, a North Carolina historic site »» Great Coharie Creek and Little Coharie Creek, named for the Sampson County Native American tribe and Salemburg

1

»» Town of Newton Grove, a vibrant farming

Johnston

community incorporated in 1879

»» Town of Roseboro constructed along the

Sampson Cumberland 2

Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad line in 1891

3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

33


Chapter 4

CCT SEGMENT 1: Howell Woods Environmental Education Center to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land CURRENT ROUTE OVERVIEW QUICK FACTS - SEGMENT 1 Total Length: Approx. 64 miles Priority Focus Areas »» Bentonville Battlefield »» Pondberry Bay and Downtown Roseboro »» Bushy Lake State Natural Area Points of Interest »» 2,800-acre Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center; western terminus of this Segment »» 2,000+ acre Bentonville Battlefield, a North Carolina state historic site »» Great Coharie Creek and Little Coharie Creek, named for the Sampson County Native American tribe »» 2,100-acre Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve between Roseboro and Salemburg »» Town of Newton Grove, a farming community incorporated in 1879 »» Town of Roseboro constructed along the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad line in 1891 »» South River, a black water river famed for paddling »» 6,343-acre Bushy Lake State Natural Area located on Gip and Turnbull Roads in Cumberland County »» 11,000-acre Suggs Mill Pond Game Land, eastern terminus of this Segment 1

Johnston

CCT Segment 1 (MST Segment 12) extends approximately 64 miles from Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land. The trail travels within four counties: Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, and Bladen. This trail segment traverses one of the most productive agricultural areas in North Carolina. It passes through Bentonville Battlefield, the site of the largest Civil War battle in the state, crosses three popular paddling rivers, and goes through two of Sampson County’s picturesque small towns. The farms of Johnston, Sampson and eastern Cumberland Counties along the route produce a diversity of products including tobacco, cotton, sweet potatoes, hogs, turkeys, cattle, soybeans, and forestry. Great agricultural soils and climate, fairly flat topography, and good rainfall have led Sampson County to be ranked first in North Carolina in agricultural crops and second in livestock and poultry, and the parts of southern Johnston and eastern Cumberland Counties on the route produce similar crops in abundance.

Sampson Cumberland 2 3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

34

From Howell Woods, the current route travels south along roads to connect to the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. South of the battlefield,

the trail passes through the Town of Newton Grove. Upon leaving Newton Grove, the current route crosses Great Coharie Creek three times before skirting the Pondberry Bay Plant Conservation Preserve on roads. The trail then crosses the Little Coharie Creek via NC Highway 242 into the Town of Roseboro. After exiting Roseboro, the current route takes Butler Island Bridge Road southwest across the South River. It skirts the Bushy Lake State Natural Area on roads leading to a trailhead into Suggs Mill Pond Game Land.

CURRENT TRAILHEADS AND AMENITIES Major trailheads that offer parking, restrooms, and water are Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, the Bentonville Battlefield Visitor Center, and Downtown Roseboro. Camping and related amenities are available at Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center and Laurel Lakes Campground and Music Park near Salemburg. Suggs Mill Pond Game Land at the southern terminus of this planning segment offers parking only.

EXPLORATORY ROUTES An exploratory route through the Bentonville Battlefield Priority Focus Area leaves the current road-route on Devils Racetrack Road and enters Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center. The exploratory route extends south through Howell Woods to the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. This section is Priority Focus Area 1. An exploratory route south of Newton Grove deviates from the current route on McLamb Road as it crosses the Great Coharie Creek. The exploratory route follows the Great Coharie through the community of Vann Crossroads before rejoining the current incomplete route at US 421 An exploratory route in Salemburg extends south connecting Pondberry Bay to the town of Roseboro. This route is Priority Focus Area 2. The exploratory route through Bushy Lake State Natural area extends from Gip Road to Turnbull Road, and features two short loop trails. This route is Priority Focus Area 3. The exploratory route through Bushy Lake State Natural Area splits from the current route on Beaverdam Church Road and turns south through the heart of the Bushy Lake Natural Area and Suggs Mill Pond Game Land.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Howell Woods to Suggs Mill Pond

HOWELL WOODS ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

95

JOHNSTON COUNTY

BeNtONVILLe

BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELD

ROBESON COUNTY

Mill Cre ek

1

RHODES POND GAMELAND

LINDeN

MAP 7: SEGMENT 1

FOUr OaKS

WAYNE COUNTY

NeWtON GrOVe

421

GODWIN SpIVeYS COrNer

CARVERS CREEK STATE PARK

13

WaDe

FORT BRAGG

40 KeeNer

SAMPSON COUNTY

eaStOVer

CUMBERLAND COUNTY SteDMaN

CLINtON

95

Current Complete Routes Current Incomplete Routes

ek Cre

Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Areas

701

oh

3

421

R u n s C re e k

R iv er eF ear

2

C Little

County Boundaries

ari

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are concepe tual;e k final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

eC

r

SUGGS MILL POND GAMELAND

rOSeBOrO

DOWNTOWN ROSEBORO

Great Co h a rie

ap

iv

er

BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

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AND

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C

ROBESON COUNTY

PONDBERRY BAY

S o ut

hOpe MILLS

DUPLIN COUNTY

SaLeMBUrG

Six

FaYetteVILLe

701

BLADEN COUNTY

0

5

10 Miles

35


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 1 - BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELD

A system of short and long trail loops will provide an appealing way to explore Bentonville’s history and natural beauty.

CASE STUDIES Bennett Place – Durham, NC

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 7 miles Primary Land Manager: NC Historic Sites managed by NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NC DNCR) Points of Interest:

The Harper House at Bentonville Battlefield served as the XIV Corps Union field hospital during the Civil War. photo by Donny Taylor

»» Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center

Bennett Place is an NC Historic Site at the farm where Confederate General Joseph Johnson surrendered to Union General William Sherman. The site contains several trails through the forested area of the property which are popular with local hikers and visitors. Moores Creek National Battlefield – Currie, NC

»» The Harper House »» Battlefield with interpretive markers

Moores Creek National Battlefield is located in Segment 3 of the Coastal Crescent Study Area. The park is the site of the first significant victory by Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Moores Creek features two loop trails that help visitors understand the course of the battle and learn about the ecology of the park.

Trail Type: Natural Surface

KEY POINTS 1 The Battle of Bentonville was the largest Civil War battle fought in North Carolina. The Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site now includes more than 2000 acres of the battlefield. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996. 2 The existing facilities at the Visitor Center provide an opportunity for a trailhead. The trail can help expand the network of Battlefield supporters

EXHIBIT 1

A NATIONALLY-SIGNIFICANT HISTORY TRAIL

Existing facilities at the Bentonville Battlefield Visitor Center provide an opportunity for a trailhead.

3 There are two existing trails at Bentonville Battlefield, and additional trails through stateowned lands are planned.

Bennet Place, an NC Historic Site in Durham, contains several trails throughout the property. photo by NC DNCR

36

Moores Creek National Battlefield has two loop trails that feature interpretive signage. photo by National Park Service


FOUr OaKS

301

MAP 7: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 1

RECOMMENDATIONS

Bentonville Battlefield Trail

95

Neu se R

BeNSON

HOWELL WOODS ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

701

40

BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELD STATE HERITAGE AREA

M ill Creek

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Bentonville Battlefield Visitors Center

JOHNSTON COUNTY

WAYNE COUNTY 13

SAMPSON COUNTY

Current Incomplete Routes Priority Focus Routes County Boundaries Public Lands 0

1

5 Miles

NeWtON GrOVe

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

37


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 2 - PONDBERRY BAY AND DOWNTOWN ROSEBORO

A walking path from downtown Roseboro to nature trails and historic sites at Pondberry Bay would provide a safe and beautiful setting for residents and visitors to recreate.

CASE STUDIES Green Swamp Preserve – Brunswick County, NC

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 7 miles Primary Land Manager: NC Plant Conservation Program, Town of Roseboro, CSX Transportation Points of Interest:

Green Swamp Preserve is home to many rare species and welcomes visitors to it’s trails year round. photo by The Nature Conservancy

»» Pondberry Bay Preserve »» Homesite of North Carolina Governor Gabriel Holmes (1821 to 1824)

Thermal Belt Rail-Trail – Rutherford County, NC

»» Historic route of stagecoach road »» Little Coharie Creek »» Downtown Roseboro Trail Type: Natural Surface in Pondberry; Paved Multi-Use Rail-Trail in downtown Roseboro

KEY POINTS 1 Roseboro’s historic downtown is bisected by the right-of-way of the former Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley Railroad. This unused rail line could be an attractive, accessible trail through town.

The Thermal Belt Rail-Trail connects downtown Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City, providing access to recreation in the most urbanized parts of the County. photo by Rutherford Outdoor Coalition

2 Roseboro’s “backyard” is Pondberry Bay, a 2100acre nature preserve protected in perpetuity by NC’s Plant Conservation Program. (Pondberry Bay is locally known as the White Woods.)

4 The trail could provide a safe route for pedestrians to cross NC Highway 24. 5 The trail can be enhanced and beautified with native plant landscaping.

38

The Thermal Belt Rail-Trail, a 13.3-mile multi-use path through the downtowns of Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City, stimulates downtown economic development and provides immediate access to recreation in the most urbanized areas of the county. Eno River Diabase Sill Preserve – Durham County, NC A section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is located on this NC Plant Conservation Program preserve in Durham County. The trail route, which is maintained by volunteers recruited by Friends of the MST, is located away from populations of rare native plants and to serve as a fire break for controlled burns. Trail volunteers participate in PCP workdays to restore native plant habitat.

3 The historic vacant Roseboro jail provides an opportunity to establish a hiker hostel.

6 Opportunities to connect Pondberry Bay to the Town of Salemburg to the north should be pursued.

This 17,424-acre preserve is protected and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Green Swamp is home to 14 species of insectivorous plans, 21 species of native orchids, and many rare animals. The preserve welcomes visitors year-round and features natural surface and boardwalk trails.

The NC Plant Conservation Program manages the Eno River Diabase Sill Preserve which features a section of the MST photo by Friends of NC Plants.

EXHIBIT 2

FROM TOWN TO FOREST IN NORTH CAROLINA’S AGRICULTURAL HEARTLAND


MAP 9: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 2

RECOMMENDATIONS

Pondberry Bay and Downtown Roseboro Trail SALEMBURG L i t tl e a e Coh k ee Cr

xp an sio n

Sw

wy 24 e

B e arskin

NC h

am

PONDBERRY BAY PLANT CONSERVATION PRESERVE

p

SAMPSON COUNTY Bi g S w

ROSEBORO

am

Current Incomplete Routes

p

Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Routes County Boundaries

Disclaimer: A trail through the Pondberry Bay Preserve has not been approved by the NC Plant Conservation Program at the time of this publication. The trail shown is a possible route; a different route may ultimately be selected.

Public Lands 0

0.5

1

2 Miles

39


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 3 - BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

A trail through a 3,100-acre expanse of Bushy Lake State Natural Area located east of Turnbull Road would provide a place for hikers to enjoy the beauty of a natural habitat unique to this region of North Carolina.

CASE STUDIES Bullhead Mountain State Natural Area – Alleghany County, NC

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 4 miles Primary Land Manager: NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR) Points of Interest:

A trail planned for Bullhead Mountain State Natural Area will link the Blue Ridge Parkway, the MST, and Stone Mountain State Park. photo by the Blue Ridge Conservancy

»» Bushy Lake, a Carolina Bay with its unique vegetation and wildlife

KEY POINTS 1 Seventeen miles east of Fayetteville, more than 17,000 acres of state-owned conservation land provide shelter for diverse populations of native plants and wildlife.

3 A new access point on Gip Road would improve land managers’ ability to care for the preserve and respond to safety issues. The additional access would require acquisition of land or easements provided by private landowners.

NC’s State Natural Areas (SNAs) are units of the State Parks System protected for their ecological and aesthetic value. The NC Divison of State Parks is working with county leaders to develop a hiking trail that will link Bullhead Mountain SNA to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the MST in Stone Mountain State Park. Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area – Hillsborough, NC

Trail Type: Natural Surface and Boardwalk

2 Public access in this area has been limited to trails at the 11,000-acre Suggs Mill Pond Game Land which is primarily used by hunters.

EXHIBIT 3

ACCESS TO A SPECIAL STATE NATURAL AREA

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area offers three miles of loop trails throughout one of the most significant natural areas in the Triangle region. photo by NC DPR

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is one of the most significant natural areas in the Triangle-region of the state. The area offers three miles of loop trails that provide access to the Eno River and the summit of Occoneechee Mountain. Amenities including picnic tables and a vault toilet are also provided.

4 Dual loop trails accessed at Turnbull Road and Gip Road entrances could provide hiking opportunities of various lengths and maximize use of the nonwetland areas of the preserve. 5 A boardwalk connector between the loops would be a distinct trail feature that provides rare access to a wetland habitat. Due to frequent wildfires and prescribed fires in the area, the boardwalk should be constructed of a fire-resistant material.

40

A new access to Bushy Lake State Natural Area from Gip Road will improve land managers’ ability to care for the preserve and provide opportunity for hiking trails.

Connecting Suggs Mill Pond Gameland to Bushy Lake SNA would result in an expansive network of trails on public lands.


r

FAYETTEVILLE

MAP 10: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 4

RECOMMENDATIONS

Bushy Lake State Natural Area Trail

VANDER

STEDMAN

SALEMBURG AUTRYVILLE

ut h

So

BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

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CEDAR SWAMP SEEP PRESERVE

CUMBERLAND COUNTY CUMBERLAND COUNTY

SUGGS MILLS P POND G GAMELAND JEROME

UGGS MILL OND AMELAND

SAMPSON COUNTY

BLADEN COUNTY Current Complete Routes Current Incomplete Routes Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Routes

BLADEN COUNTY

County Boundaries Public Land Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

0

WHITE OAK

1

4

7 Miles

Current C

Current In

Explorato 41

Priority Fo


Chapter 4

CCT SEGMENT 2: Suggs Mill Pond Game Land to Singletary Lake State Park CURRENT ROUTE OVERVIEW QUICK FACTS - SEGMENT 2 Total Length: Approx. 39 miles Priority Focus Areas »» The Three Lakes Trail: Jones Lake to White Lake to Singletary Lake Points of Interest »» Carolina bays at Suggs Mill Pond Game Land, Jones Lake State Park, the town of White Lake, and Singletary Lake State Park »» Harmony Hall Plantation, constructed before the Revolutionary War »» Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest features interpretive signs on local ecology and history »» Town of White Lake, resort community where hikers can take a break to swim and sun or play puttputt and ride a ferris wheel! »» Interpretive signs at Singletary Lake State Park exploring some of the theories of the origins of the Carolina bays

1 Johnston

Sampson Cumberland 2 3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

42

The trail route in Segment 2 extends approximately 39 miles from Suggs Mill Pond Game Land to Singletary Lake State Park. This segment is located entirely within Bladen County. This trail segment traverses public lands that protect many “Carolina Bays,” elliptical depressions aligned in a northwest to southeast direction that provide habitat for many rare and endangered species. Notable bays along the trail route include Jones, White, and Singletary lakes. The bays are named for the bay tree which grows in many of them. Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest allows hikers to learn the history of the local naval stores industry and efforts to revive the population of endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The current route through Suggs Mill Pond begins at the entrance to the Game Land and follows unpaved roads through the Game Land. Upon exiting Suggs Mill Pond Game Land, the route turns southwest and enters the community of White Oak and continues to Harmony Hall Plantation. The route then enters Jones Lake State Park via Salters Lake Trail. After exiting Jones Lake State Park, the trail passes Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest and continues south into the Town

of White Lake. In White Lake, hikers follow the road and sidewalks around the east side of the lake before leaving the town via NC Highway 53. The trail follows the highway briefly before entering Bladen Lakes State Forest and Singletary Lake State Park on existing trails at the terminus of this planning segment.

CURRENT TRAILHEADS AND AMENITIES Major trailheads that offer parking, restrooms, and water are Harmony Hall Plantation Historic Site, Jones Lake State Park Visitor Center, the Town of White Lake, and Singletary Lake State Park Office. Camping and related amenities are available at Harmony Hall Plantation, Jones Lake State Park, White Lake Motel and Campground, and Camp Clearwater in White Lake. The Town of White Lake also offers other inns and vacation rentals for lodging. Suggs Mill Pond Game Land and Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest offer parking only.

EXPLORATORY ROUTES An exploratory route at the south end of Suggs Mill Pond Game Land begins by leaving the current trail and continuing south across Gum Spring Road. After the road crossing, the exploratory route continues south to reunite with the current route less than a mile from Jones Lake State Park.

Three exploratory routes originate from the current trail on Sweet Home Church Road at the north end of Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest and end at various points along US Highway 701. The northernmost route arcs eastward through the heart of Bladen Lakes State Forest. Another exploratory route originating at the same point remains along the southern edge of Bladen Lakes State Forest and turns south to the Town of White Lake. The southernmost route follows a private unpaved road through a blueberry farm. An exploratory route traverses the Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest south to White Lake and Singletary Lake State Park. This route is Priority Focus Area 4. At the southern end of Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest, an exploratory route spurs west from into the Town of Elizabethtown. This route crosses the Cape Fear River and provides hikers with an additional destination for re-supply, meals, and lodging. An exploratory route from the Town of White Lake extends northeast to the South River. The route follows the river corridor for several miles south to its confluence with the Black River.


SAMPSON COUNTY

CUMBERLAND COUNTY

SUGGS MILL POND GAMELAND

Tur tle

Bra nc h

Cr ee k

3

BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

BLADEN COUNTY

Six Ru ns

Suggs Mill Pond to Singletary Lake

MAP 11: SEGMENT 2

RECOMMENDATIONS

AMMON k ee Cr Harris

Turnbull Cre ek

GARLAND

ROBESON COUNTY

k ac Bl

WHITE OAK

F

r ive rR ea

DUBLIN

JONES LAKE STATE PARK

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BAY TREE LAKE STATE PARK

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4 WHITE LAKE

Current Complete Routes

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Current Incomplete Routes

County Boundaries

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SINGLETARY LAKE STATE PARK

Priority Focus Areas

l Co

Exploratory Routes

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

43


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 4 – THE THREE LAKES EXHIBIT 4

JONES LAKE TO WHITE LAKE TO SINGLETARY LAKE

A trail from Jones Lake to Singletary Lake State Park would connect two state forests and the Town of White Lake to expand recreation, nature observation, and tourism opportunities for residents and visitors to White Lake and Bladen County.

CASE STUDIES Ridgeline Trail – Gaston and Cleveland counties, NC; Cherokee and York counties, SC

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 10 miles

Pond Cypress in Jones Lake. photo by Pete Wetzel

Primary Land Managers: NC Forest Service and NC Division of State Parks Points of Interest: »» Jones Lake State Park »» Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest (ESF) »» Bladen Lakes State Forest »» Town of White Lake »» Singletary Lake State Park Trail Type: Natural surface in parks and forests and asphalt or concrete in the Town of White Lake

KEY POINTS 1 This route would take advantage of the abundant public land in the area to connect Jones Lake State Park, the resort town of White Lake, and Singletary Lake State Park with a trail.

The length and connectivity of the 15 mile Ridgeline Trail is the result of cooperation between multiple state and national park units, local governments, and trail leaders. photo by Carolina Thread Trail

2 The trail could traverse Turnbull Creek ESF and Bladen Lakes State Forest, including Camp Chamblee. 3 The trail would expand hiking and educational opportunities for school classes visiting Turnbull Creek ESF. 4 Where possible, this route would utilize existing trails within Turnbull Creek ESF, Bladen Lakes State Forest, Jones Lake and Singletary Lake State Parks. 5 Land acquisition or easements provided by private landowners would be required in some locations.

44

Sugarland Trail connects downtown Gatlinburg to Great Smoky Mountains National Park providing increased visitation to both destinations. photo by Hayden Brown

The 15-mile Ridgeline Trail links two states, four counties, two state parks and one national park. The natural surface hiking trail begins in Crowders Mountain State Park, North Carolina and extends south to the Kings Mountain National Military Park and Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina. The Ridgeline Trail is a segment of the Carolina Thread Trail system. Its length and connectivity are the result of cooperation between multiple state and national park units, local governments, and trail leaders. Gatlinburg Trail – Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, TN This natural surface trail provides direct access to the Sugarlands area trail system in Great Smoky Mountains National Park from city shops and restaurants in downtown Gatlinburg. This direct link benefits both the national park and the city by increasing visitors and reducing vehicle travel to both destinations.


Tu rn

Jones Lake

BLADEN LAKES STATE FOREST

bu ll C r

Three Lakes Trail

k ee

JONES LAKE STATE PARK

MAP 12: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 4

RECOMMENDATIONS

TURNBULL EDUCATIONAL STATE FOREST 13

701

White Lake

WHITE LAKE ELIZABETHTOWN C o ll yC

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ea

F

Current Incomplete Routes

Ca p e

Current Complete Routes

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SINGLETARY LAKE STATE PARK

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Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Routes Public Lands 0

0.5

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2 Miles

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

BLADEN LAKES STATE FOREST

Singletary Lake

45


Chapter 4

CCT SEGMENT 3: Singletary Lake State Park to Holly Shelter Game Land CURRENT ROUTE OVERVIEW

QUICK FACTS - SEGMENT 3 Total Length: Approx. 76 miles Priority Focus Areas »» Cape Fear River Levee Trail »» Northeast Cape Fear River Ferry Points of Interest »» Singletary Lake State Park, established in 1936 by the National Park Service for a work program and recreational demonstration project »» Elwell Ferry, which crosses the Cape Fear River; one of three remaining river ferries in North Carolina »» Kelly Historical Museum provides history of the community along the Cape Fear River »» Canetuck Community Center at the Rosenwald School, built in 1921-22 for African American students »» Moores Creek National Battlefield,site of the first patriot victory in the American Revolution »» Burgaw train depot, oldest in North Carolina constructed circa 1850 »» Van Eden Road, resettlement area for Jewish refugees during World War II »» Town of Watha, filming location for “The Secret Life of Bees” movie »» Penderlea, site of the first 152 homestead farms constructed during the Great Depression »» Shelter Neck Unitarian Universalist Camp clapboard church, originally constructed as a school in 1902 »» Angola Bay and Holly Shelter game lands, protect a vast pocosin 11

Johnston Johnston

Cumberland Cumberland

Sampson Sampson

2 2

3 3

Onslow Onslow

4 4

Carteret Carteret

Bladen Bladen

Pender Pender

Atlantic Atlantic Ocean Ocean

46

The trail route in this segment extends approximately 76 miles from Singletary Lake State Park in Bladen County to Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County. The trail traverses many natural resource assets including Colly Creek, Lyon Creek, the Black River, Moores Creek, Cypress Creek, Ashes Creek, the Northeast Cape Fear River, and Shelter Creek. The current trail passes through the municipalities of Burgaw and Watha. The route passes many historic sites dating from the Revolutionary War to the New Deal and beyond. The current route exits Singletary Lake State Park onto US NC Highway 53. The trail follows NC 53 south for ten miles passing Whitehall Plantation Game Land. The route departs from NC 53 in the Kelly community and continues into Pender County through the community of Canetuck and on to the Black River. The trail continues to Moores Creek National Battlefield where it follows existing trails and crosses Moores Creek. The trail continues north on Bell Williams Road before turning east across US Highway 421 to follow Piney Woods Road to the Town of Burgaw. The route through Burgaw uses the 2.2 mile Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail. From Burgaw, the current route travels

north to the Town of Watha where it then turns east and crosses Interstate 40 and the Northeast Cape Fear River. The trail then turns south past Angola Bay Game Land and crosses Shelter Creek before reaching Holly Shelter Game Land.

CURRENT TRAILHEADS AND AMENITIES Three major trailheads offer parking, restrooms, and water, including Singletary Lake State Park, Moores Creek National Battlefield, and downtown Burgaw. Camping and related amenities are available at the Kelly Historical Museum and Moores Creek National Battlefield. The Burgaw Motel also provides lodging. The Lodge Road entrance to Holly Shelter Game Land at the eastern terminus of this planning segment offers parking only.

tive routes for exiting Burgaw. One of the routes exits the town to the east and splits to the north and south just before each branch crosses Interstate 40. The southern branch of the split extends east to the White Stocking boat ramp on the Northeast Cape Fear River and uses a proposed river ferry to take hikers to Holly Shelter Game Land. This route is Priority Focus Area 6. The northern branch also makes its way to the Northeast Cape Fear River and follows it north to Angola Bay Game Land. The other exploratory route from Burgaw extends north using an abandoned railroad bed that becomes Van Eden Road and the current route of the CCT. This route continues into the Town of Watha.

An exploratory route exiting Watha extends east crossing I-40 and enters EXPLORATORY ROUTES Angola Bay Game Land. The route bends south in Angola Bay and splits An exploratory route exits Singletary Lake State Park southwest of the cur- into western and eastern routes. rent route and parallels the Cape Fear The western branch extends a short distance to reunite with the current River southeast through Whitehall route. The eastern branch continues Plantation Game Land to Kelly. The south, exiting Angola Bay and crossroute uses the White Oak Dike that ing NC 53 to the Northeast Cape Fear begins at Elwell Ferry and continues River. The route follows the river east along the Cape Fear River crossing into Pender County. This route is Prior- along the north bank into Onslow County in Planning Segment 4. ity Focus Area 5. Two exploratory routes deviate from the current route and provide alterna-


RECOMMENDATIONS

Turnbull Creek

GARLAND

MAP 13: SEGMENT 3

701

Singletary Lake to Holly Shelter

SAMPSON COUNTY

DUPLIN COUNTY

BLADEN LAKES STATE FOREST

421

ANGOLA BAY GAMELAND

701

ck

R iv

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Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

421

Current Complete Routes Lon

Current Incomplete Routes

g Creek

Exploratory Routes

COLUMBUS COUNTY

Priority Focus Areas County Boundaries

NEW HANOVER COUNTY

0

0

5

5

10Miles Miles 10

47


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 5 – CAPE FEAR RIVER LEVEE

CASE STUDIES

This trail could assist with stabilizing the eroding flood control levee and allow users to experience nature along the Cape Fear River in this rural, historic area.

Oostanaula Levee Trail – Rome, GA

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 14.5 miles Primary Land Manager: US Army Corps of Engineers and private property owners

The Oostanaula Levee Trail is built on the crest of an active levee system in downtown Rome, Georgia. photo by others

Lawrence Levee Trail – Lawrence, KS

Points of Interest:

Extending 9.3 miles atop a flood control levee on the north bank of the Kansas River, the Lawrence Levee Trail demonstrates the benefits of leveraging an existing public investment to provide an unparalleled community recreation amenity. The trail transitions from urban to rural as it extends south along the river into a scenic farmland setting.

»» The Elwell Ferry »» Historic levees »» Cape Fear River Trail Type: Natural Surface

KEY POINTS 1 The route would utilize an inactive US Army Corp. of Engineers (USACE) levee system constructed in 1911 and 1948 to control flooding from the Cape Fear River between Elwell Ferry and Buckle. 2 The crest of the remaining levee is flat and could accommodate a trail.

The Oostanaula Levee Trail is a 1.8-mile section of the greater Heritage Trail system. This multiuse trail section is built on the crest of an active levee along the Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers in downtown Rome, Georgia.

The Lawrence Levee Trail is located atop a flood control levee on the north bank of the Kansas River, providing an unparalleled recreation amenity to the Town of Lawrence, KS. photo by others

3 Construction of the trail would require approval by the USACE and consent of the private property owners who own the land underlying the levee. 4 Construction and maintenance of the trail could stabilize the now-eroding levees and preserve their ability to protect surrounding homes, farms, and businesses from flood damage. 5 A unique destination-quality trail through the Cape Fear River floodplain could attract visitors from Wilmington and beyond. Elwell Ferry – The historic Elwell Ferry crosses the Cape Fear River along the proposed route. The Elwell Ferry is one of three remaining river ferries in the state.

48

The crest of the Cape Fear River Levee system is flat and could accommodate a trail. photo by CH2MHILL for USACE

EXHIBIT 5

KEEP THE WATER OUT AND LET THE HIKERS IN


ANGOLA BAY GAME LAND

Cape Fear River Levee Trail BLADEN LAKES STATE FOREST

SAMPSON COUNTY

INGLETARY L LAKE SINGLETARY AKE STATE PARK

BLADEN COUNTY

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Lake Waccamaw

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Current Complete Routes Priority Focus Routes County Boundaries Public Lands 4

7 Miles

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

WILMINGTON

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY

Current Incomplete Routes

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EAST ARCADIA

COLUMBUS COUNTY

HOLLY SHELTER GAME LAND

PENDER COUNTY

N or th

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WHITEHALL PLANTATION GAME LAND

MAP 14: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 5

RECOMMENDATIONS

49


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 6 – NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR RIVER FERRY EXHIBIT 6

FLOATING THE BLACKWATER

A ferry ride would allow MST through-hikers to experience the beauty and wildlife of a blackwater river.

CASE STUDIES

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 4.5 miles Primary Land Manager: NC Wildlife Resources Commission and private boat owners Points of Interest:

The Kennebec River Ferry is the officially sanctioned method for crossing the River by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In the absence of the ferry, the crossing would present a major obstacle for hikers. Photo by others

»» Northeast Cape Fear River Trail Type: River Ferry

KEY POINTS 1 Two boat landings located 4.5 miles apart on opposite sides of the river provide an opportunity to reduce the on-road trail distance between Burgaw and Holly Shelter Game Land 2 The ferry provides a unique experience for throughhikers on a blackwater river. 3 This route will require identifying boat owners who can act as “trail angels” by ferrying hikers down the river.

A local bicycle advocacy organization operates a bicycle and pedestrian-only ferry across the 200 ft. wide Colchester Causeway to facilitate passage on the Island Line Rail Trail. Photo by Local Motion

4 The ferry concept will establish local “ownership” of the trail and facilitate relationships between hikers and “trail-angels”

A river ferry on the Northeast Cape Fear River from boat landings managed by NC WRC will provide a unique trail experience and reduce the length of on-road hiking between Burgaw and Holly Shelter. Photo by NC Coastal Land Trust

50

Kennebec River Ferry – Appalachian Trail in Somerset County, ME The Kennebec River is the largest un-bridged river crossing on the Appalachian Trail (AT). In the absence of a canoe ferry, this 400-footwide river would present a major obstacle to hikers. The ferry is the officially sanctioned method for crossing the Kennebec River by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The service is only provided for AT hikers and is not available to the general public. The ferry is operated by a private guide service from May through October at no charge to hikers. Island Line Rail-Trail – Burlington, VT The Island Line extends for 13 miles from Burlington to South Hero Village in Vermont via the Colchester Causeway. Ferry services, operated by a local bicycle shop, facilitate passage across a 200-foot-wide break in the Colchester Causeway known as “The Cut”. The ferry expressly serves patrons of the rail-trail for a nominal fee that helps sustain operations


MAP 15: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 6

RECOMMENDATIONS

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

51


Chapter 4

CCT SEGMENT 4: HOLLY SHELTER GAME LAND TO STELLA ON THE WHITE OAK RIVER enters the public beach near the Surf City Welcome Center and continues Segment 4 extends approximately 91 north for eight miles to the Town of miles from Holly Shelter Game Land North Topsail Beach. The route exits to the Stella community on the White the beach and uses a paved multi-use Oak River. The trail travels within three pathway to connect to NC 210. The counties: Pender, Onslow, and Carteret. trail continues northwest past the OnThis segment extends through the On- slow County Environmental Education slow Bight, the geographic area where Center to Stones Creek Game Land the North Carolina coastline bends where it follows jeep roads before between Cape Lookout and Cape reaching US-17. The route continues Fear. The Onslow Bight is considered east to Jacksonville and extends one of the most ecologically diverse through the city’s downtown commerareas in the United States and is home cial district to the LeJeune Memorial to several species that are found Gardens. The trail then utilizes the nowhere else in the world. The area’s City’s Rails-to-Trails Greenway for six pocosins and longleaf pine forests are miles. The route leaves the greenway critical habitat for nesting and foragwhen it enters Camp LeJeune and ing red-cockaded woodpeckers, while continues east on rural roads to Stella the barrier islands provide habitat for and the Croatan National Forest. sea turtle and water birds. This area is CURRENT TRAILHEADS AND a primary conservation priority for The AMENITIES Nature Conservancy, NC Coastal Land Trust, and NC Wildlife Resources Com- Major trailheads that offer parking, restrooms, and water include Surf City mission (NCWRC). In addition, Camp Soundside Park, Surf City Welcome Lejeune Marine Corps Base supports Center, Onslow County Public Park, conservation efforts through funding Onslow County Environmental Eduand land management practices that cation Center, and LeJeune Memorial enhance native habitat. Gardens in Jacksonville. Camping and The current route begins at Holrelated amenities are available seasonly Shelter Game Land and uses an ally at Surf City Family Campground. existing network of unpaved roads to Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and travel south. The trail exits the game Jacksonville also offer several inns and land and turns southeast to Surf City hotels for lodging. Entrances to Holly where it uses the existing sidewalk Shelter Game Land, Stones Creek and boardwalk network. The trail

CURRENT ROUTE OVERVIEW QUICK FACTS - SEGMENT 4 Total Length: Approx. 91 miles Priority Focus Areas »» Holly Shelter Nature Trail »» Jacksonville–Croatan Rail-with-Trail Points of Interest »» 63,500-acre Holly Shelter Game Land containing vast expanses of pocosin, savannas of lush grasses and native plants, and towering longleaf pines »» Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City »» Concrete observation towers built by the US Navy in World War II for Operation Bumblebee »» Ocean City community in North Topsail Beach, founded in 1949 as a family-oriented beach for African Americans »» Onslow County Environmental Education Center and Public Library provides information on the ecology, flora and fauna of the Onslow Bight »» Stones Creek Game Land in Dixon features lakes and pine woods »» Jacksonville’s six-mile Rails-to-Trails Greenway extends through the heart of downtown and into Camp Lejeune »» White Oak River and the community of Stella on the outskirts of the Croatan National Forest 1 Johnston

Sampson Cumberland 2 3

Onslow

4 Carteret

Bladen Pender

Atlantic Ocean

52

Game Land, and the Stella Post Office at the eastern end of the study area offer parking only.

EXPLORATORY ROUTES The northernmost exploratory route in this planning segment deviates from the current trail between Angola Bay Game Land and Holly Shelter Game Land to follow the Northeast Cape Fear River east. Two exploratory routes are located within Holly Shelter Game Land. The northernmost exploratory route extends east through the game land on a network of unpaved roads and crosses through Shaken Creek Preserve to reconnect with the current route along the northern edge of Camp LeJeune. The second exploratory route in Holly Shelter is located within Priority Focus Area 7 and connects to the current route on US 17 toward Surf City. This route includes a loop trail from Lodge Road. An exploratory route located within Priority Focus Area 8 is a proposed Rail with Trail that connects Jacksonville to Stella and the Croatan National Forest.


Ne

CARTERET COUNTY

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Priority Focus Areas Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

County Boundaries

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

53

MAP 16: SEGMENT 4

RECOMMENDATIONS


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 7 – HOLLY SHELTER GAME LAND CASE STUDIES South Mountains Game Land - Rutherford County, NC

A short-loop nature trail and a longer connecting trail located within a finger of Holly Shelter Game Land that extends to US 17/NC 210 could allow locals, tourists, and MST hikers to experience the wonder of North Carolina’s first game land.

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 6 miles

A 60 mile trail network weaves through the South Mountains Game Land and adjacent South Mountains State Park to provide equestrians, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, and fishermen with access to this vast expanse of public land. Photo by NC DPR

Trails within the South Mountains Game Land interconnect with trails in the adjacent South Mountains State Park to form a 60-mile network used by hunters, hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, fishers, and campers. The harmonious coexistence of these activities draws visitors from Charlotte and beyond.

Primary Land Manager: NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Green River Game Land – Henderson County and Polk County, NC

Points of Interest:

The Green River Game Land features 16 miles of rugged hiking trails which are the result of a collaborative effort between NC Wildlife Resources, Mountain True, Carolina Mountain Club, Tryon Hiking Club, and the tourism authorities of Henderson and Polk counties. The trails are popular with hunters, fishers, hikers, and mountain bikers. Equestrians are also permitted from May through August. These trail users have broadened public awareness and support for continuing conservation efforts.

»» Holly Shelter Game Land Trail Type: Natural Surface

KEY POINTS 1 The 65,000-acre Holly Shelter Game Land protects some of the most ecologically-unique habitat in North America. It was the first game land established in North Carolina and features an extensive internal network of forest roads. 2 A nature trail would provide a unique recreational experience for tourists and residents of Topsail Island, Holly Ridge and Hampstead and surrounding communities in Pender and Onslow counties.

Sixteen miles of trail in the Green River Game Land are the result of a collaborative effort between NC WRC, local tourism development agencies, and non-profit trail organizations. Photo by Timothy Parrish

Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Falls Lake Game Lands, Durham and Wake counties, NC

3 For MST thru-hikers, a connecting trail from the nature loop trail to the current MST route on Lodge Road would improve hiker safety by eliminating walking on US Highway 17. 4 Construction of the trail and small parking area, accessed from US 17, will require skilled design and construction techniques to protect the sensitive natural habitat. Sixty miles of an existing section of the MST follows the shore of Falls Lake. Much of the route is located on game land and is popular with both hikers and hunters. Photo by Tobias Hough

54

Sixty miles of the MST follows the south shore of Falls Lake, and much of the route is located on game land. The trail is popular with hunters and hikers alike, and the Friends of the MST and the Wildlife Resources Commission have developed a strong relationship as they work together to manage the trail and associated campsites.

EXHIBIT 7

ENJOY THE SURF, EXPLORE THE TURF


Holly Shelter Nature Trail

MAP 17: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 7

RECOMMENDATIONS

hOLLY rIDGe

HOLLY SHELTER GAME LAND 17

SUrF CItY

Current Complete Routes

O

Current Incomplete Routes Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Routes tOpSaIL BeaCh

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A

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A

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Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

55


Chapter 4

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 8 – CAMP LEJEUNE-CROATAN RAIL-WITH-TRAIL

A trail within the military railroad right-of way could link the popular Jacksonville Rail-Trail to the outdoor recreation destination at the Croatan National Forest and expand training facilities for Marines.

CASE STUDIES Libba Cotton Bikeway – Carborro, NC

KEY FEATURES Total Length: 14 miles Primary Land Managers: US Department of Defense and Norfolk Southern Points of Interest:

The Libba Cotton Bikeway in the Town of Carborro is a rail-with-trail separated from an active rail line by a 12 foot wide, tree-lined landscaped buffer. Photo by others

»» Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base »» City of Jacksonville

The Libba Cotton Bikeway is a rail-with-trail in downtown Carborro. A 12-foot-wide, tree-lined buffer separates the bikeway from the railline. Despite close proximity to the tracks and two crossings, there are no reported incidents involving trail users and trains. The bikeway is a popular shortcut for students and staff traveling to and from the UNC campus.

»» White Oak River

All American Trail – Fort Bragg, NC

»» Croatan National Forest

The All American Trail is an 11-mile multi-use pathway used by hikers, runners, and cyclists on Fort Bragg, a US Army base outside Fayetteville, NC. The crushed-gravel trail follows the perimeter of the base and includes a 1,000 foot boardwalk across Rockfish Creek and its wetlands. The trail is open to the public, providing a recreation and training opportunity for both civilians and Fort Bragg personnel.

Trail Type: Natural Surface or Multi-use Rail Trail

KEY POINTS 1 An active railroad corridor that connects Camp LeJeune and Cherry Point is owned by the US Department of Defense (DOD) and currently leased to Norfolk Southern. 2 The rail line connects to the Jacksonville RailTrail constructed by Camp LeJeune and the City of Jacksonville. This paved rail-trail is enjoyed by active service members and civilians alike.

Located in US Army base Fort Bragg, the All American Trail is open to the public and provides recreation and training opportunities for civilians and soldiers. Photo by The Pilot Newspaper

Virginia Capital Trail – Richmond, VA

3 A natural surface tread should be considered for the trail, with potential to upgrade tread to a multi-use surface based on local community preference.

The 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail connects the historic capital of Jamestown to the current capital in Richmond. The final two miles in Richmond parallel an active rail-corridor including a quarter-mile of trail located underneath an elevated line. This greenway is popular with locals and long-distance runners.

4 Trails and active rail lines safely and harmoniously coexist in over 240 locations throughout the country including North Carolina. 5 Ownership of the railroad right-of-way would be retained by DOD ensuring that the trail could be closed to the public if necessary to serve defense purposes.

56

The final two miles of the Virginia Capital Trail parallel an active rail line in Richmond, VA. These two transportation modes co-exist harmoniously in the heart of the city. Photo by Venture Richmond

EXHIBIT 8

THE ULTIMATE TRAINING GROUND


Camp LeJeune-Croatan Rail-With-Trail WHITE OAK RIVER GAME LAND

17

JONES COUNTY

MAP 18: PRIORITY FOCUS AREA 8

RECOMMENDATIONS

CROATAN NATIONAL FOREST

CROATAN NATIONAL FOREST

STELLA

JACKSONVILLE aCKSONVILLe WHITE OAK RIVER GAME LAND

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Current Complete Routes

CAMP LEJEUNE

Current Incomplete Routes Exploratory Routes Priority Focus Routes County Boundaries Public Lands 0

0.5

1

2

3

4

5 Miles

Disclaimer: Exploratory and Priority Focus Routes are conceptual; final alignments will be determined in coordination with land managing agencies and private property owners.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

57


5 IMPLEMENTATION CONSTRUCTION OF AN ENTIRELY OFF-ROAD COASTAL CRESECENT TRAIL FROM HOWELL WOODS TO STELLA AND THE CROATAN NATIONAL FOREST WILL BE NO SMALL TASK, BUT WITH BROAD SUPPORT AND PERSEVERENCE, THIS TRAIL CAN ADD TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF RESIDENTS AND HELP VISITORS EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY, HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THIS SPECIAL PART OF NORTH CAROLINA This chapter lists action items needed to continually improve the trail route, establishes a framework for trail signage for different trail types, and provides additional information about implementation in the eight priority focus areas.

IN THIS CHAPTER: A Implementation Action Items B Signage Framework C Implementation Actions of Priority Focus Areas

59


CHAPTER 5

IMPLEMENTATION ACTION ITEMS Creating a destination-quality trail requires a significant commitment from multiple levels of government and nonprofits, including staff time for land and trail management and the dedication of funding. A trail of this magnitude should be recognized as both an economic development and

A TRAIL OF THIS MAGNITUDE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS BOTH AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION TOOL THAT WILL PROVIDE A SIGNIFICANT RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

60

environmental preservation tool that will provide a significant return on investment. The CCT enjoys support from many partners. Working together, Friends and government agencies can have a far greater impact in building and promoting the trail than if each works independently.

The goals listed in the implementation matrix represent milestones to implementing the CCT.


IMPLEMENTATION

CCT IMPLEMENTATION MATRIX Action Item

2018

2019

2020 & Beyond

Lead Agency

Create Friends and NC State Parks Work Group for the CCT

Friends of the MST & NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Finish blazing trail route on all complete sections of the CCT (see maps in this plan to identify complete sections)

Friends of the MST with permission/assistance from land managing agencies

Begin process to designate complete sections as MST

NC Division of Parks and Recreation with request/assistance from land managing agency

Update all online and print materials to show the CCT as an official part of the MST

NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Continue to seek volunteers to build, maintain and promote the trail and to provide support to hikers

Friends of the MST

Meet with land managing agencies in priority focus areas

Friends of the MST with assistance from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Be alert for opportunities to build new trail and improve route outside of priority focus areas

All partners

Complete signing and blazing all road portions of the CCT/MST

Friends of the MST in cooperation with NCDOT Divisions

Seek funding from local governments and others to hire a project coordinator to focus on building and promoting this part of the MST

Friends of the MST with support from county and municipal governments

Meet with and assist land managing agencies in priority focus areas

Friends of the MST with support from NC Division of Parks and Recreation and other partners as needed

Seek funding to build trail in the priority focus areas

Friends of the MST with help from all partners

Designate all complete portions of the trail as MST and work with land managers to sign them

NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Organize a regional meeting for trail community leaders in this part of the trail

Friends of the MST with support from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Continue to seek volunteers to build, maintain and promote the trail and to provide support to hikers

Friends of the MST

Be alert for opportunities to build new trail and improve route outside of priority focus areas

All partners

Install kiosks and trail head signs as needed

Friends of the MST with assistance from land managing agencies

Seek funding from local governments and others for a project coordinator to focus on building and promoting this part of the MST

Friends of the MST with support from county and municipal governments

Assist land managing agencies in priority focus areas to build new sections of trail

Friends of the MST with assistance from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation and other partners as needed

Seek funding to build trail in the priority focus areas

Friends of the MST with help from all partners

Organize a regional meeting for trail community leaders in this part of the trail

Friends of the MST with support from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation

Continue to seek volunteers to build, maintain and promote the trail and to provide support to hikers

Friends of the MST

Be alert for opportunities to build new trail and improve route outside of priority focus areas

All partners

Begin process to review this master plan and update implementation action items

Friends of the MST with support from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation

61


CHAPTER 5

SIGNAGE FRAMEWORK Installing signs and blazes to identify the trail route should be an immediate priority to assist trail users and raise awareness and support. Each drawing in this section shows a framework for signage on different parts of the trail. The first drawing illustrates

signage that should be installed on parts of the trail that are off-road and complete as identified on the maps in this master plan. The NC Division of Parks and Recreation should work with the segment manager for these parts of the trail to designate

them as official parts of the MST. The second drawing depicts signage to be used when the CCT/ MST shares the route of an existing trail, such as the Jacksonville Rail-Trail and Burgaw’s Osgood Canal Greenway. Each of these shared sections is a

1. SIGNAGE FOR DESIGNATED COMPLETE SECTIONS

2. SIGNAGE FOR SHARED TRAILS

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Kiosk

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IMPLEMENTATION

completed part of the trail, and the NC Division of Parks and Recreation should work with the segment manager to designate it as an official part of the MST and sign it appropriately. The third draw-

ing depicts signage for interim connecting routes of the trail, many of which will be on roads. Friends of the MST should work with NCDOT Divisions to

install signs and blazes to mark the route and shift them as the route changes over time.

3. SIGNAGE FOR INTERIM CONNECTING ROUTES

NCDOT ROAD SIGN

Directional Road Sign

Kiosk

Bollard with Blaze

&RQÀUPDWLRQ%OD]HRQ7UHH

63


CHAPTER 5

IMPLEMENTATION OF PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS The eight Priority Focus Areas are places where opportunities exist – because of landownership; special natural, historic or manmade features; or tourism, recreation or flood control needs – to construct new sections of the CCT in the short-term. Trails built in these areas will be valuable as stand-alone trails while also helping to piece together a continuous long-distance trail through southeastern North Carolina.

PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS MATRIX The table below summarizes the details of each Priority Focus Area.

PRIORITY FOCUS AREA

TRAIL LENGTH

PFA 1- Bentonville Battlefield

7.0

A system of short loop and longer walking trails could provide an appealing way to explore Bentonville’s history and natural beauty.

Natural surface

PFA 2- Pondberry Bay and Downtown Roseboro

7.0

A walking path from downtown Roseboro to nature trails and historic sites at Pondberry Bay could provide safe and beautiful places for residents and visitors to recreate and enjoy nature.

Natural surface (on nature preserve) and Paved asphalt rail-trail (downtown)

PFA 3- Bushy Lake State Natural Area

4.0

A nature trail through this natural area east of Turnbull Road could provide a place for non-hunters to enjoy the beauty of a natural habitat unique to this region of North Carolina.

Natural surface and boardwalk

NC Division of Parks and Recreation

10.0

A trail from Jones Lake to Singletary Lake through two state forests and the Town of White Lake could expand recreation, nature study and tourism opportunities for residents and visitors to White Lake and Bladen County.

Natural surface and Paved (sidewalk) in the Town of White Lake

NC Division of Parks and Recreation, NC Forest Service, NC DOT, private landowners, Town of White Lake

PFA 5- Cape Fear River Levee Trail

14.5

This trail could help the community stabilize an eroding flood control levee and also allow people to experience nature along the Cape Fear in this rural, historic area

Natural surface

US Army Corps of Engineers and private landowners

PFA 6- Northeast Cape Fear River Ferry

4.5

A boat ride could allow MST through-hikers to experience the beauty and wildlife of a blackwater river.

N/A

PFA 4- The Three Lakes

(ESTIMATED MILES)

PFA 7- Holly Shelter Nature Trail

6.0

PFA 8- Camp LeJeune to Croatan Rail-with-Trail

14.0

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OVERVIEW

A loop nature trail and a longer connecting trail in a finger of Holly Shelter adjacent to US 17/NC 210 could allow locals, tourists, and MST hikers an opportunity to experience the wonder of North Carolina’s first game land. A greenway trail within the military right-of-way could link the popular Jacksonville Rail-Trail to the outdoor recreation destination at the Croatan National Forest and expand training facilities for Marines.

TRAIL TYPE

Natural surface and boardwalk

LAND MANAGING AGENCY NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

NC Plant Conservation Program; Town of Roseboro; CSX Transportation

“Trail angel” Private boat owners

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Natural Surface with potential upgrade to multi-use tread

US Department of Defense and Norfolk Southern


Harnett

Johnston 1

IMPLEMENTATION

Pitt

Beaufort

Priority Focus Areas

BENTONVILLE BATTLEFIELDWayne

Lenoir

Cap eF

iver rR ea

Sampson Cumberland

2

Hoke BUSHY LAKE STATE NATURAL AREA

3

Jones Duplin

PONDBERRY BAY AND DOWNTOWN ROSEBORO

Craven

1

MAP 19: ALL PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS

Greene

Lee

CAMP LEJEUNECROATAN RAIL WITH

TRAIL

Onslow Robeson

THE THREE LAKES

Ca pe Fe ar Ri v er

NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR RIVER FERRY

Pender 4 6

Bladen Columbus

CAPE FEAR RIVER LEVEE

Carteret 8

HOLLY SHELTER GAMELAND

7

5

Brunswick

New Hanover

65


APPENDICES

A CCT Enabling Legislation B CCT Legislative Fiscal Note C Estimated Costs Of Trail Types

67


APPENDICES

APPENDIX A: CCT ENABLING LEGISLATION

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2017 SESSION LAW 2017-66 SENATE BILL 244 AN ACT TO ADD THE COASTAL CRESCENT TRAIL TO THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA STATE TRAIL. The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall add the Coastal Crescent Trail through Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Bladen, Pender, and Onslow counties, as well as other counties designated by the Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, to the Mountains-to-Sea State Park Trail unit of the State Parks System as provided in G.S. 143B-135.54(b). The Coastal Crescent route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail shall include public and private lands as authorized by G.S. 143B-135.98. The Secretary and staff of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall work cooperatively with the staff and volunteers of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to plan and develop the Coastal Crescent route. SECTION 2. No later than October 1, 2017, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall amend the State Parks System Plan required by G.S. 143B-135.48 to reflect the addition of the Coastal Crescent Trail to the Mountains-to-Sea State Park Trail. SECTION 3. This act is effective when it becomes law. In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 19th day of June, 2017. s/ Philip E. Berger President Pro Tempore of the Senate s/ Tim Moore Speaker of the House of Representatives s/ Roy Cooper Governor Approved 6:12 p.m. this 28th day of June, 2017

68


APPENDICES

APPENDIX B: CCT LEGISLATIVE FISCAL NOTE

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA Session 2017 Legislative Fiscal Note BILL NUMBER: Senate Bill 244 (First Edition) SHORT TITLE:

Coastal Crescent Trail/State Parks System.

SPONSOR(S):

Senator B. Jackson FISCAL IMPACT ($ in millions)

Yes

State Impact

FY 2017-18

No

No Estimate Available

FY 2018-19

FY 2019-20

FY 2020-21

FY 2021-22

General Fund Revenues: General Fund Expenditures: State Positions: NET STATE IMPACT

Likely budget costs. See Assumptions & Methodology section for additional details.

Local Impact Revenues: Expenditures:

NET LOCAL IMPACT

No estimate available. Please see Assumptions & Methodology section for additional details.

PRINCIPAL DEPARTMENT(S) & PROGRAM(S) AFFECTED: Department of Natural and Cultural Resources EFFECTIVE DATE: When the bill becomes law TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS: None

BILL SUMMARY: Senate Bill 244 (SB 244), Coastal Crescent Trail/State Parks System, requires the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) to add the Coastal Crescent Trail (CCT) to the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST). DNCR is directed to work with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail staff and volunteers to plan and develop the CCT route. DNCR must amend the State Parks System Plan to reflect the addition of the CCT to the MST by October 1, 2017, when an updated version of the State Parks System is due to the Environmental Review Commission, the Senate and the House of Representatives Appropriations committees on Agriculture, Natural, and Economic Resources, and the Fiscal Research.

Senate Bill 244 (First Edition)

1

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APPENDIX C: ESTIMATED COSTS OF TRAIL TYPES The cost of bridges and boardwalk are difficult to estimate for any of these trail types. These are the most expensive elements of trail construction, and their frequency and length can vary considerably

on different trails. Construction costs often include design and permitting costs as well as labor and materials. Therefore, the estimates below do not include costs for bridges and boardwalks except

SURFACE TYPE Natural Surface – Volunteer Built

ESTIMATED COST PER MILE $250 *Bridges up to 28 feet = $500 to $8000 in materials

3 ft. Natural Surface – Contractor Built

$31, 680 ($6 per linear foot)

5ft. Typical Sidewalk

$237,600 ($45 per linear foot)

10 ft. Crushed Gravel Fines

$211,200 ($40 per linear foot)

10ft. Typical Asphalt Greenway

$369,600 ($70 per linear foot)

*Cost estimates do not include bridges, road crossings, or boardwalk.

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for estimated material costs for bridges that are small enough (up to approximately 28 feet in length) that can be built by volunteers.


P.O. BOX 10431 RALEIGH, NC 27605 919-698-9024 MOUNTAINSTOSEATRAIL.ORG

Coastal Crescent Trail Strategic Plan  
Coastal Crescent Trail Strategic Plan  
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