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Outdoors Franklin workshop scheduled for Regional Trails Plan

Meeting will generate ideas for future trails and greenways

The Southwestern Commission will be hosting a two hour public workshop on Wednesday, September 19 as part of a Regional Trails Plan underway for seven counties in Western North Carolina. The workshop begins at 5:30 at the Franklin Town Hall.

The workshop will focus on generating ideas for future trails in Macon County, including a discussion on potential future greenways, existing greenways, mountain bike trails and hiking trails.

“There’s always been a lot of interest in hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in this region,” said Sarah Graham, regional planner for the Southwestern Commission. “We hope to take some of the plans already completed by counties and towns and organize them into a cohesive regional vision for future trails.”

Southwestern Commission, through a grant from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and its State Trails Program, is leading the regional trails inventory and concept plan for Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties. Other workshops will be scheduled in other counties this fall.

The primary product of this plan will be a region-wide map indicating where existing hiking trails, greenways, mountain bike trails, and some on-road bicycle routes are located. It will also include recommendations, based on public input, on where new trails, greenways or routes may be located to connect to other trails or connect towns/communities to one another.

“We want to use this plan to help identify partners, pursue funding opportunities, and link communities,” said Graham.

The Plan will also include some documentation of other trail and greenways considerations for use by the towns and counties within the region. This documentation will include topics such as recommendations for more detailed planning efforts, funding strategies, partnerships and maintenance expectations.

Completion of the plan is expected in late 2012 or early 2013, with adoption by the Southwestern Commission Board and County Commissioners.


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