Hikers and bikers looking for new adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains will be excited by the recent U.S. Forest Service announcement of approved plans to build 42 miles of new trails near Old Fort.
Here’s the official announcement from the USFS:
Yesterday the community of Old Fort, N.C. announced plans to build 42 miles of new, accessible trails for people of all abilities and backgrounds in Pisgah National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has formally approved the plans, and funding for construction of the first six miles of the system has been provided by the Dogwood Health Trust. Groundbreaking on the Old Fort Trails Project will begin in January 2022 and the first sections of trail and parking area are slated to open by late summer.
Phase One of the project includes seven easy and intermediate trail sections ranging from 0.32 miles to 1.9 miles in length, with some optimized for mountain bikers. The trails will be built in the Curtis Creek area, which was one of the first tracts of Pisgah National Forest acquired under the Weeks Act in 1911. Coupled with existing trail systems, the full scope project will result in more than 70 miles of trails and two new parking areas accessible from the Old Fort area!
It’s highly unusual for the Forest Service to allow for new recreational trails, but they green-lighted the Old Fort Trails Project thanks to grassroots efforts led by a coalition of community members dedicated to providing equitable, accessible and sustainable opportunities for all people to use the trail system and national forest lands.
This coalition includes People on the Move for Old Fort, a Black-led community group addressing community engagement; the G5 Trail Collective, organized by Camp Grier in partnership with the USFS; Eagle Market Streets Development, a non-profit development corporation focused on developing communities of color; and the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Learn more about this exciting announcement and how to get involved here.