North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed bills into law this month authorizing a new state park and three new state trails. The new laws (S.L. 2019-74, S.L. 2019-20, S535) allow the addition of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe and Haywood counties; Northern Peaks State Trail in Watauga and Ashe counties, the Wilderness Gateway State Trail in the South Mountains range in McDowell, Rutherford, Burke and Catawba counties; and the Overmountain Victory State Trail reaching across Avery, Mitchell, McDowell, Burke, Rutherford, Polk, Caldwell, Wilkes and Surry counties.
Governor Cooper expects the new state properties to have widespread positive impacts for health, quality of life, and the economy. “These new parks and trails will conserve important wildlife habitats and support North Carolina’s flourishing outdoor recreation industry,” the Governor said.
The new state park, Pisgah View, will be in highly scenic southwest Buncombe and Haywood counties. The area is full of trails, unique habitats, cliffs, coves and upland forests that are home to several rare plant and animal species.
The Division of Parks and Recreation will also conduct a feasibility study that will further refine a corridor for the new Wilderness Gateway State Trail that would connect Chimney Rock State Park to South Mountains State Park, the Town of Valdese, the City of Hickory, the newly authorized Overmountain Victory State Trail and other natural areas located in Burke and Catawba counties. The division is to report back to the General Assembly by Dec. 1.
A state trail is comprised of multiple connected sections, each sponsored by a state or federal agency, local government or private landowner working in partnership to fund, build, and maintain the trail.
The opportunity to enhance visitor opportunities, unique experiences and education for all ages speaks to Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton. “People love parks and trails, so I’m pleased that we’ll be able to provide new opportunities for our residents and visitors to experience some of the most spectacular places in our state,” she said.
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