The Carolina Thread Trail began with the germ of an idea: Identify the region’s most pressing environmental need, according to an article in Saturday’s Charlotte Observer.
It grew into a vision, launched in 2007, of hundreds of miles of trails that would connect parks, neighborhoods, towns, conservation areas and regional attractions across 15 counties.
On Saturday, the Thread marks its fifth anniversary and 100th mile of trail, to be commemorated by a monument at Davidson’s West Branch Nature Preserve Trail. One day it will cut through Brightwalk.
A National Association of Realtors survey cites walking and biking trails as the top amenity homebuyers prefer. Trails offer easy access to exercise, get kids outdoors and keep pollutants out of streams.
But local leaders say the Thread also helped pull together a far-flung region of 2 million people. Inspired by its possibilities, communities found common ground as they worked together to plan trails.