By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer of the Stanly News & Press.
With nearly four miles of trail and two kayak launches installed this year, Stanly County’s outdoor amenities hit a spike this year.
All of the trail growth took place in the northern part of the county, where the opening of the Falcon Trail — a 2.7-mile hiking and biking trail that connects Pfeiffer University to Richfield Park — marked the largest section of the Carolina Thread Trail completed in the county’s history.
Since then, the town of Richfield has also completed a trail at Tyson Park, a property it acquired earlier this year. When connected with a nature trail installed at Richfield Elementary a few months ago, it totals about a mile in length.
One was installed in Norwood off Riverview Road, about 100 feet west of its intersection with U.S. Highway 52. The other was recently opened in Oakboro at 3615 N.C. Highway 205.
In addition, the town of Stanfield sold 34 acres of land to the Catawba Land Conservancy in January to construct another kayak launch; it has not been completed at this time.
In the end, all of those launches are supposed to be part of the Rocky River Blueway — a 65-mile paddling trail that the CTT is piecing together along the Rocky River from Midland to Lilesville.
“The addition of greenway and blueway trails in Stanly County has provided the county with many different options for the outdoor enthusiast,” said Chris Lambert, director of the Stanly County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We pride ourselves as an outdoorsmans’ paradise and with the addition of these amenities we continue to increase the popularity of Stanly County.”