WCU’s new 6.7-mile trail system now open to public

February 26, 2013 | Share |
Sae Smyrl and his dog, Una, and Stephen Benson and his dog, Adele, take an inaugural hike on the Western Carolina University trail system. The 6.7-mile trail, with two access points, is formally open to the public.

Sae Smyrl and his dog, Una, and Stephen Benson and his dog, Adele, take an inaugural hike on the Western Carolina University trail system. The 6.7-mile trail, with two access points, is formally open to the public.

It’s official! Western Carolina University’s new trail system is open and ready for bikers, hikers and runners. About 100 people turned out Saturday, Feb. 23, for an outdoor campus celebration to mark the trail’s formal opening.

Chancellor David O. Belcher and Josh Whitmore of Western Carolina University cut the ribbon at a Feb. 23 event to formally open WCU’s new 6.7-mile trail system. Holding the ribbon at left is Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs, with son Zane.

Chancellor David O. Belcher and Josh Whitmore of Western Carolina University cut the ribbon at a Feb. 23 event to formally open WCU’s new 6.7-mile trail system. Holding the ribbon at left is Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs, with son Zane.

The trail system features 6.7 miles of narrow, single-track trail accessible from two points: the parking lot of WCU’s new Health and Human Sciences Building on Little Savannah Road and the pedestrian tunnel under Highway 107 near WCU’s softball complex. The access point through the tunnel connects users to the trail via property of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

The trail took approximately one year to construct and was preceded by several years of planning. It was built with support from a $75,000 grant from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation’s Recreational Trails Program and a $5,000 award from Specialized Bicycle Components. A $14,440 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation in 2009 funded initial development of a master plan for the project. WCU students and community members completed more than 1,500 hours of volunteer labor to help finish the project, said Josh Whitmore, associate director of outdoor programs at WCU and project coordinator.

Click here for a map of the trail. For more information about the trail, click on the “WCU Trail System Info” link on the Base Camp Cullowhee website at basecamp.wcu.edu or contact Whitmore at jwhitmore@wcu.edu or 828-227-3466.

 

 


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