Great Trails State Coalition

A broad-based group of diverse organizations, agencies, and supporters advocating for increased state investment in all types of trails in North Carolina – hiking, paddle, mountain bike, equestrian, paved.

Are you ready for year of the trail?

Start the celebration with First Day Outdoors!

Find trails, events and tools to help your community plan for Year of the Trail and more:

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Direct links to Year of the Trail campaign resources, including videos and website:

Sign up for our monthly campaign newsletter!

2021 Long Session Success

2023 Year of the Trail

In the 2021 long session, the State of North Carolina designated 2023 as Year of the Trail. Click here to read more.

Funding for State Trails

For the first time ever, North Carolina granted $29.15M for the Complete the Trails Fund, which includes capacity building grants for State Trail non-profit partners, and allows State Trails to apply for designated funding for trail projects.

$2M for Rural Feasibility Studies

In the 2021 long session, the State of North Carolina allocated $2 million for rural feasibility studies.

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Members & Counting

We are proud of our wide range of members all standing behind a platform for trails in North Carolina. The Coalition has 52 total members: 30 non-profit partners, 15 business partners, 2 government partners, and 5 advisors. 


See who is on board.

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.

An NC DOT study of a one-time $26.7 million investment in four NC shared-use paths created the following economic impacts:

$19.4 million

Estimated ANNUAL sales revenue at local businesses along the four greenways

$25.7 million

Estimated ANNUAL savings due to more physical activity, less pollution and congestions, and fewer traffic injuries from greenway use

$48.7 million

Estimated business revenue from greenway construction


Jobs are supported ANNUALLY through greenway construction

Trails are 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.

Updated map coming soon!

Next Steps

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

1. Establish the Great Trails State Fund

Establish the Great Trails State Fund with funding for all kinds of trails, including natural surface and paved greenways

Are you on board?

Lumber River State Park | Robeson County. Image by NC State Parks.