Bid accepted for nature trail

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2005

JACKSON – Let the work begin.

Following a brief presentation of bids to begin work on the nature trail planned for Northampton County, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners granted the Northampton Cooperative Extension Center permission to accept a $5,000 bid to begin the relocation of soils that will serve as the bed for the trail.

Having received a $4,980 grant from the Division of Parks and Recreation of the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (NCDENR) under the Adopt-a-Trail grant program last February, the group began soliciting bids from various contractors February 7. The bid was awarded to Vernon L. Jones of Jackson.

Undertaken in a joint effort by the Extension Center, the Northampton Office of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service and the North Carolina Forestry Service, the planned project will provide approximately 4,300 feet of hiking/walking trail and serve as a resource for environmental and wildlife recreation, environmental stewardship demonstration and recreation when it is completed.

&uot;Much of the clearing has already been done through volunteer labor, time and equipment from the Northampton County Forestry Service,&uot; said Rose Massey, Director of the Northampton Cooperative Extension Office.

The trail will be located directly behind the J.W. Faison Administrative Building on Highway 305 in Jackson, adjacent to the Northampton County Government Complex, which houses the Health Department, Agriculture Services and the Department of Social Services.

&uot;This will be a great place for county employees to enjoy some outdoor recreation during their lunch breaks,&uot; Massey said. &uot;Not only will it meet some of the area’s recreation needs, but I think it will prove a marketable asset for eco-tourism.&uot;

The $5,000 bid will allow for the formation of a firm base for the trail by moving some of the clay soil currently on the property and will require no additional county funds.

Thoughts to construct a trail developed after the 1999 Northampton County Recreation and Parks Master Plan performed by the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies of East Carolina University determined the need for recreation trails and/or facilities in the area.

The project will occur in two phases, the first of which will include cutting the trail and reseeding loblolly pines. The second phase will allow for the construction of a boardwalk along a portion of a natural two-acre pond.

According to Massey, construction of the trail will be completed by cooperative efforts from specific dedicated community service labor, volunteers, 4-H members and leaders, Rotarians, Soil Conservation, Forestry Service and Cooperative Extension employees with administrative responsibility resting in the hands of the county’s Public Works department.

A subsequent grant application was submitted to NCDENR for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Demonstration Project Grant to fund future aspects of the project. The deadline for the grant application was March 1.

Contract work is scheduled to begin as soon as weather and soil conditions permit.