Great Trails State Coalition


We are nonprofit organizations, local governments, and industry partners working together to advocate for increased state investment in all types of trails in North Carolina – hiking, biking, paddle and equestrian – paved and natural surface trails.

Salem Lake Trail | North Carolina

The Great Trails State Coalition works towards a future where programs, policies, funding and leadership are in place that ensure:

Every third Saturday in October is officially designated

Great Trails State Day!

The bill recently passed unanimously in both the NC House and Senate. It became law with the Governor’s signature.

This year, Great Trails State Day will occur on Saturday, October 19, 2024.

Apply for Funding

Great Trails
State Program

The $25 million Great Trails State Program is taking grant applications now through September 3, 2024.


Learn More and Apply:

Saxapahaw Island Trail | North Carolina

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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 104 total members: 46 non-profit partners, 24 business partners, 26 government partners, and 5 advisors. 

See who is on board.

Why Support Trails

Trails provide opportunities for people to connect with nature and move their bodies. Studies show that as little as 30 minutes spent outside creates positive health outcomes, including improvements in mental health. Trails are free to use and there is a trail for everyone, regardless of age, ability or background.

Outdoor recreation in North Carolina is a $14.6 billion dollar industry and continues to grow. 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, 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 accelerate investment-ready projects to completion, benefiting 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 263 projects in 52 counties, representing an estimated $511 million of construction costs. NC DOT’s Great Trails State Plan identifies future projects in all 100 counties. Check them out below.

Join the Coalition

Our Members

Join us for the
Great Trails State Conference

Are you on board?

Jockey’s Ridge State Park | North Carolina