In October 2018, Representative Blackwell talked to Beth Heile at the Valdese Rotary Pancake Breakfast about a trail along the river. The trail would reach each municipality in eastern Burke County, bringing health for the citizens mind and bodies, and boosting the local economy. At the time, Representative Blackwell was involved with the Wilderness Gateway State Trail and Heile with Valdese Lakeside Park.
After continuing to work on each project, and cross working on each other’s projects, a true focus started on a trail along the river in January, 2020. Blackwell and Heile met with Scott Carpenter and Shane Prisby of the Burke County Community Development Department.
From the meeting, the county stated they did not have time to work on this new trail. However, Prisby did put together some ideas of how where the trail could run. The map, shown at the top, has routes that are not based off of topography or other factors – just connecting properties together to assess feasibility. Purple-Green-Pink is the top choice. Does not show entire route to Catawba County.