RALEIGH, N.C. - In a ceremony Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 130 into law at the North Carolina Museum of Art, officially designating the East Coast Greenway as a unit of the North Carolina State Parks system and an official North Carolina State Trail.
Following this designation, the East Coast Greenway is eligible for a variety of funding mechanisms and other forms of support for trail planning and construction in North Carolina.
“Designating these trails as part of the State Parks system will ensure that we continue to develop and maintain these important resources for all North Carolinians,” said Cooper. “It is vital to the health and well-being of our state’s residents that public outdoor spaces are available to everyone, in every community.”
Joining Cooper in speaking at the ceremony were Jeff Michael, Deputy Secretary for Natural Resources with the DNCR; Sens. Natalie Murdock and Mike Woodard; and Rep. Kyle Hall.
East Coast Greenway Virginia & North Carolina Manager Sarah Sanford was the final speaker before Cooper signed the bill into law.
“This is one thing that I think all people can agree on … trails are a good thing,” said Sanford. “They are a benefit for health, recreation, conservation and, of course, transportation, so we were so thrilled to have such strong bipartisan support for House Bill 130 in both the House and the Senate."
Within North Carolina, the East Coast Greenway features a 365-mile spine route and a 425-mile complementary coastal route. The 75-mile stretch of greenway from North Durham through Cary, Raleigh and Clayton forms the longest continuous stretch of the entire 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway in a metropolitan area.
North Carolina State Parks encompass an incredibly diverse landscape, stretching from “the highest sand dune on the East Coast at Jockey's Ridge to Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the eastern U.S.”
This East Coast Greenway designation also furthers the development of the Great Trails State Plan, a North Carolina Department of Transportation effort “to identify a network of shared-use paths and trails that connects every county in North Carolina, with a focus on connections between population centers and North Carolina State Parks.”
The Dan River Trail also earned the same designations Friday with Cooper’s signing of HB 360.
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