McDowell County Announces Opening of Phase III of the Fonta Flora State Trail
County, chamber, and city officials gathered on Monday, September 16, 2019 to celebrate the opening of the Greenlee Park Section (Phase III) of the McDowell County Greenway Trails System. The new river-front greenway is also a connector section to the future Fonta Flora State Trail that was authorized in 2015 by the state legislature. The 2,000-foot Greenlee Park Section features a paved trail, renovated canoe launch, horseshoe pits, and a picnic shelter along the Catawba River. There is also a natural path that takes walkers and runners just off the pavement and into the woods.
The County, City of Marion, and the McDowell Trails Association have been working with the NC Parks and other organizations to facilitate the development of the Fonta Flora State Trail that will connect Morganton to Asheville and use many of the county's existing trails. Trail development in McDowell County has been a coordinated effort among the city, county, the McDowell Trails Association, NC Parks, individual residents, and nonprofits for years, says County Manager Ashley Wooten. The Master Plan includes several phases providing miles of greenway within the county for residents and visitors to enjoy.
This section will eventually be extended to cross the Catawba River in order to reach Tom Johnson's Camping Center and Nix Creek, said Wooten. "The County is working on two grant application at this time for the additional extensions."
The Fonta Flora, identified by its bright orange feather, will connect Morganton to Asheville with a loop around Lake James. Once completed, the trail will cover three counties and 100 miles and include sections of the Overmountain Victory Trail, Point Lookout Trail, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway, the Catawba River Greenway, the Oaks Trail in Black Mountain among others.
The community is encouraged to venture out to experience McDowell County’s newest Greenway. The path is suited for hiking, biking, running, water access, and is pet-friendly for leashed dogs. It also offers a great picnic pavilion for gathering with friends and family.
For more information visit the county’s website at www.marionnc.gov under Parks and Recreation departments.