Catawba communities dedicating recreation trails Sunday

On Sunday, four communities in Catawba County will celebrate their patches of a recreation trail that weaves its way through 15 counties in North and South Carolina.

Pieces of the "Carolina Thread Trail" will be dedicated in Conover, Newton, Hickory and Murrays Mill.

The trail is named for the fabric manufacturing heritage in the 15 counties in which it travels, according to the trail's website. Counties in the trail region have identified 1,200 miles of planned trails and more than 80 miles are already open to the public.

Each of the communities participating in Sunday's event will unveil a new sign at a section of newly marked trail, said Mary George of Catawba County Planning, Parks and Development.

"Most are having a speaker, presenter, talking about why that particular trail is important to them," George said. "A lot of them will do guided walks so people can get out on the trail and experience it."

George said Newton will celebrate a section of trail that opened in the past year. At a 3:30 p.m. ceremony, Newton will dedicate three quarters of a mile of its Heritage Trail Greenway on the south side of Radio Station Road.

"We're hoping we'll have a representative from the Catawba County Heritage Alliance make a few brief comments, we'll pull the cover off the sign and unveil the sign," said Glenn Pattishall, Newton's planning director and assistant city manager. "The sign will be just south of Radio Station Road near where the pedestrian crossing is near Carolina Assisted Living."

Pattishall said the ceremony will be brief.

At 2:30 p.m., Conover will dedicate seven-tenths of a mile of its Gateway Trail, which is parallel to 1st Street West and just south of I-40.

"That will be the first portion and there will be more as we complete parts of Conover Station Park," City Manager Donald Duncan said. "We hope to add to it."

Catawba County will dedicate a mile-long stretch of the trail near Murrays Mill Road at 4 p.m.

"It will de dedicated to David Lee Stewart, a former Catawba County commissioner who owned the property and helped develop it," George said.

"His family will be there to receive that honor. There will be a celebration cake."

The ceremony at Murrays Mill will be tied to the Harvest Folk Festival.

Hickory will dedicate a 1.2-mile segment of its greenway system at Jaycee Park and Hickory City Park on 12th Street Drive NW. The ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m.

The ceremonies are all expected to be brief.

"Just be prepared to enjoy the outside, and come walk with us," George said.

In addition to Catawba, North Carolina counties participating in the trail project include Lincoln, Cleveland, Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union and Anson. In South Carolina, counties include Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster and York.

Catawba Land Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust, is leading the effort to connect the trail.