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Great Trails State Coalition
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Trails are the foundation of the outdoor economy

Outdoor recreation is a $28 billion industry in North Carolina
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NC is Ready to Build Trails
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Why Support Trails

Trail use has increased more than 300% in some places in the last year. The pandemic has demonstrated how eager North Carolinians are for safe places to be outside in nature.

Outdoor recreation is a $28 billion dollar industry, and will be an important part of our economic recovery from covid-19. New trails can help build both physical and economic connections and allow us to capitalize on NC’s natural beauty, warm people and rich history.

NCDOT’s Great Trails State Plan, to be published in 2021, is a plan to connect all 100 NC counties by trails. State funding will provide matching dollars for significant federal funds and speed investment ready projects to completion, benefitting citizens and the outdoor recreation economy.

Off-road trail networks help people safely get to their destinations. Each year more than 3,000 pedestrians and 850 bicyclists are hit by vehicles in North Carolina, making NC one of the most dangerous states in the US for walking and bicycling.

Trails have a significant return on investment:

Every $1.00 spent on trail construction generates $1.72 ANNUALLY from local business revenue, sales tax revenue, & benefits related to health and transportation.

Investment Ready

The Great Trails State Coalition collected information from communities about natural and paved trail projects that are ready for construction and design.

There are 157 projects in 52 counties, representing an estimated $230 million of construction costs. NC DOT’s Great Trails State Plan identifies future projects in all 100 counties. Check them out below.

Next Steps

The Great Trails State Coalition recommends building upon NC’s trail legacy by investing in and expanding our current trail systems:

Building Nature Trails

NC State Parks

Recurring Funding: $2.3M to strengthen the NC Trails Program and support official State Trails 

Non-recurring Funding: $18M for trail construction and land purchase dollars

Building Greenways


Non-recurring Funding: $45M to leverage federal dollars for paved greenways & $2M for rural feasibility studies

Supporting Tourism

Visit NC

Recurring Funding: $100,000 to help rural communities promote tourism

Non-recurring Funding: $150,000 to construct a Great Trails State web portal

Designate 2023 NC Year of the Trail

In the 2021 long session both the House and Senate passed a bill declaring 2023 the Year of the Trail. It was signed into law on August 18, 2021. Read more about it here.

Are you on board?