Waterfront trail on Lake Wylie to open in fall

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJuly 16, 2013 

— A new section of waterfront walkway on Lake Wylie should open by late fall.

Charlotte-based Rodgers Builders recently assembled a 45-person team to build three wooden bridges for the 2.3-mile section of the Carolina Thread Trail under construction at Seven Oaks Preserve on the Gaston County shores of Lake Wylie. Materials and manpower were provided free, celebrating the building company’s 50th anniversary.

“The trail weaves through many of the communities where we build,” said Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers Builders calling the effort a “perfect match.”

Employees laid the foundation for the bicycle and pedestrian bridges in May, completing the work June 27. Trail planners expect the trail near Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to open in late fall.

In full, the Thread Trail will cover 15 counties in both Carolinas. Currently, there are 117 miles open to the public.

“We are extremely grateful to Rodgers for its strong support to the community, and our efforts of providing trails and preserving our community’s natural areas,” said Tom Okel, executive director for Catawba Lands Conservancy and the Thread Trail.

Trail planners are looking for more volunteer to lead. Trail Masters class will be held Oct. 7-10 at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill for 16 selected volunteers. Following the free, four-day trail building and maintenance certification course, participants must commit to 40 hours of service annually for three years to lead other volunteers on trail workdays. The deadline to apply is Aug. 7.

“Our Trail Masters program is a significant and important opportunity for us to train some of our most dedicated volunteers in leadership roles so they can help us build and maintain segments of the Carolina Thread Trail,” said Travis Morehead, a community coordinator for the Trail.

Bert Lynn, a Mecklenburg County resident, completed the masters program. He learned the process start to finish and now will aid others in helping make the trail. With the size of the planned trail, volunteers are critical to its mission, he said.

“Budgets are thin everywhere,” Lynn said. “Asking volunteers to come out and help construct and maintain the trails is something that makes sense, and it’s a way for the community to take ownership.”

Certified trail masters have logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours since the program began in 2011. For more on the trail, including how to sign up to be a Trail Master, visit carolinathreadtrail.org.

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