In April, 2020, Western Piedmont Council of Government (WPCOG) committed to a feasibility study for the Burke Catawba River Trail. Beth Heile met with WPCOG Planners Alison Adams and John Wear to create a list of stakeholders and developed starting plan. Stakeholders would be town managers, land owners, land trust, tourism and the county.
During this time, Beth sent letters to 3 owners of 5 tracts along possible route to share trail objective and sent emails to town managers. Before the first meeting with stakeholders, a meeting was held to review maps created by Todd Stroupe with John Wear, Averi Ritchie, Alison Adams, Taylor Dellinger, Beth Heile (July 1).
The first stakeholders meeting was held on July 29 via Zoom with the following present: From WPCOG – Averi Ritchie, Todd Stroupe, Johnny Wear, Alison Adams, Taylor Dellinger, Brian Horton), Representative Hugh Blackwell, Doug Setzer – BCPS Director of Auxililary Services, Scott Carpenter – Deputy Burke County Manager, Shane Prisby, Burke County, Beth Heile – Friends of the Valdese Rec, Katherine Christie (Burke Tourism), Sherri Bradshaw (Drexel Town Manager), Logan Shook (Hildebran Town Manager), FVR Trail Blazers – Reed Farrar, Zakk Heile – Todd Stroupe presented the study area and scoring used to rank parcels. Attendees discussed overall goal of path and possible routes.