The state of North Carolina has a long and storied history of outdoor recreation, and the year 2023 will be no exception. In fact, it has been declared “The Year of the Trail,” in celebration of North Carolina’s extensive network of hiking and biking trails, and as an invitation for people of all ages and abilities to get out and enjoy the state’s natural beauty.
The North Carolina Year of the Trail is a joint initiative between the state government, non-profit organizations, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The goal is to encourage North Carolinians and visitors to explore the state’s diverse landscapes, from the mountains to the coast, through various activities, including hiking, biking, trail running, paddling, and more.
The Trail Objective
One of the key objectives of the Year of the Trail is to highlight the economic and social benefits of outdoor recreation. North Carolina’s trails not only provide opportunities for physical activity and enjoyment of nature but also are a chance to create jobs and stimulate local economies.
In addition to promoting outdoor recreation, the Year of the Trail is also aimed at preserving and improving North Carolina’s trail systems. This includes funding for trail maintenance and construction and efforts to protect natural resources and wildlife habitats. The state is home to a wide range of ecosystems, from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, and ensuring that these areas remain healthy and accessible is critical for future generations.
The Pinecone Pathways and The Sandhills Story Trail Adventures
One of the highlights in conjunction with the NC Year of The Trail is the Pinecone Pathways Program in Moore County. This unique outdoor adventure is where nature and artistry meet. Take an immersive journey along picturesque trails in the Southern Pines and Pinehurst area, searching for glass pinecone sculptures. Not only are these art pieces amazing on their own, but they also come with their own incentives — exclusive numbers and codes that could reward you with great prizes when registered online. Through the county’s partnership with Starworks Glassmakers, they are proud to provide 200 beautiful pieces throughout county paths – so, come prepared for an unforgettable experience!
On top of the Pinecone Pathways Program, Moore County is also introducing the Sandhills Story Trail Adventures. Embark on an enchanting journey with Winnie-the-Pooh! This interactive and imaginative experience through the Sandhills has been created for kids of all ages by Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in collaboration with its official Destination Storyteller, Dan Dreyer. Follow Pooh as he hides among Moore County Trails bringing hours of entertainment to visitors and residents alike.
Another great, but different kind of trail experience, is the Moore County Mural Trail. Moore County has embraced the art of murals, with more than a dozen popping up in various towns and villages. The county seat Carthage features five impressive works that celebrate its history and culture near Courthouse Square. From Robbins to Aberdeen, travelers can find gorgeous artwork depicting local lifestyles adorning buildings throughout Southern Pines, Vass and Cameron. The art showcases the unique beauty of each town.
An Inclusive Initiative
The North Carolina Year of the Trail will feature various events and activities throughout the state. These will include guided hikes and bike rides, trail building and maintenance projects, educational programs on outdoor recreation and environmental conservation, and more. The initiative is designed to be inclusive and welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with disabilities.
One of the key messages of the Year of the Trail is that outdoor recreation is not just for the young and fit. North Carolina’s trails offer opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get outside, get moving, and connect with nature. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll through a city park or a challenging hike through a mountain wilderness, there is a trail in North Carolina for you.
Respectful Of Nature
The Year of the Trail also aims to promote the concept of “leave no trace” outdoor ethics. This means respecting the environment and minimizing our impact on natural resources when we enjoy the outdoors. This includes staying on designated trails, properly disposing of trash and waste, and respecting wildlife habitats.
The North Carolina Year of the Trail celebrates the state’s natural beauty and is a call to action for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. By getting involved in trail building and maintenance, participating in guided hikes and bike rides, and supporting local businesses that cater to outdoor recreation, we can help ensure that North Carolina’s trails remain healthy, accessible, and enjoyable for generations to come. As you enjoy the unique beauty each season brings, you can also know you are getting fit and helping the community. How amazing is that?