Haw River Trail Becomes a State Trail

The local favorite joins 12 other distinguished trails across the state.

The Haw River Trail is now an authorized state trail thanks to the perseverance of local advocates, nonprofit organizations, and North Carolina legislators Representative Stephen M. Ross, Senator Amy S. Galey, and Representative Dennis Riddell.

“The Haw River State Trail is a lasting tribute to the power of the community. Dozens of landowners in Alamance County have shared their private property so that everyone can enjoy the beauty and power of the Haw,” said Brian Baker, Assistant County Manager of Alamance County. “Thanks to that commitment, the Haw River has regained its place as the heart of Alamance County.”

The Haw River Trail provides public access to one of North Carolina’s most important natural features. The land and paddle trail allows the community to explore while helping to conserve and protect this vital resource. Local nonprofits Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area, Carolina Canoe Club, and The Conservation Fund were critical in orchestrating behind the scenes to make this authorization possible. Both the Alamance and Chatham counties’ board of commissioners adopted resolutions supporting state trail authorization.

“Adding this beloved trail to the state trails program is a special opportunity for Alamance County,” said Representative Ross. “It is a great place to hike and paddle and enjoy the outdoors. Conserving places like the Haw River Trail also gives us cleaner air and cleaner water which will benefit our state for decades to come.”

The Haw River Trail will join 12 other state trails and become part of the North Carolina State Parks system. While a state park is operated and managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation, a state trail comprises multiple connected sections that rely on local partnerships. Each section of the trail is sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, nonprofit organization, or private landowner.

“State trail status gives the Haw River recognition across North Carolina as a trail of statewide significance,” said Senator Galey. “The state trail designation welcomes attention and economic benefit from tourism and recreation to Alamance County and beyond. The families of North Carolina have a beautiful place to splash and play for future generations.”

The Haw River Trail boasts:

  • 20 miles of completed land trail in Alamance County
  • 40 miles of completed paddle trail in Alamance County
  • 15 recreational parks and trailheads open along the trail in Alamance County
  • 6 public access sites in Chatham County

“It’s the commitment of our North Carolina’s General Assembly to the state’s conservation trust funds that make efforts like this one possible,” said NC State Director of The Conservation Fund Bill Holman, who chairs the Land for Tomorrow Coalition. “We’re also thankful to Representative Ross for being the primary sponsor of a conservation tax credit bill that will soon pass as part of the House budget. Investment in our natural spaces ensures that residents can enjoy and explore all that North Carolina has to offer.”

The planned Haw River Trail corridor extends approximately 80 miles along the Haw River, from Haw River State Park on the Rockingham-Guilford County line through Alamance County to Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Chatham County. Public access to the Haw River Trail in Chatham County is provided at the Lower Haw River State Natural Area, owned by State Parks and by three public access sites managed by Chatham County Parks and Recreation. The trail in Alamance County is part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail, allowing hikers to travel across the state from Clingman’s Dome in the west to Jockey’s Ridge in the east.

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