Though only a handful of Anson County residents turned out for public meetings last year, the county is moving forward with plans to be part of the 15-county Carolina Thread Trail.
The Carolina Thread Trail is “a regional network of trails, which will connect 15 counties in both North and South Carolina,” according to the county’s grant application. The trail “will ultimately weave together places and people in a way that enhances cultural, recreational, civic, transportation and educational opportunities for each community it touches,” the grant application goes on to say.
County Manager Lawrence Gatewood reported recently that a site near Ansonville, on the Rocky River, has been identified for use in the Carolina Thread Trail.
“It is a small first step,” Gatewood said. “It is 2.9 acres, and we are looking for other sites to include as part of the trail. There are landowners out there willing to sell.”
The site in Ansonville will include a mini-park with a few parking spaces along the Rocky River. It is defined as a “blueway,” which is basically another term for a paddle trail — “a water-based trail capable of accommodating boating, swimming and other means of navigating the waterway.”
Gatewood added that all of Anson County’s sites within the Carolina Thread Trail will be blueways along either the Rocky River or the Pee Dee. “They will connect to trails in other counties,” he added.
Public meetings regarding the Carolina Thread Trail were held in January 2012 in various areas of the county, including Polkton, Morven, Lilesville and Ansonville. The highest attendance number was five.
Still, Gatewood and the rest of the Carolina Thread Trail team members feel the trail will be a great tourism draw for the county. “I think that yes, once the word gets out and people realize we have landing docks and very nice blueway areas, it will be great for tourism,” Gatewood said. “It can also help drive people to the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge, which is just down the road from our first site.”
Gatewood will bring the Carolina Thread Trail grant before the county commissioners at their next meeting May 7.