N’hampton awaits Nature Trail funds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2005

JACKSON – They’re still waiting.

The Northampton Cooperative Extension Center hopes to secure $57,536 in funds for development of the Northampton Nature Trail as a result of funding proposals submitted last month.

According to Craig Ellison, a representative of the Extension Center who spoke on behalf of Co-op Director Rose Massey, the proposals were submitted to three potential sources including the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, the 2005-2006 Adopt-a-Trail Grant and North Carolina’s 2005 Recreational Trails Program.

&uot;Much of the work has already begun on the nature trail,&uot; Ellison told the Northampton County Commissioners during their meeting here Monday.

The trail, which will be located directly behind the J.W. Faison Administrative Building on NC 305 near Jackson, 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 completed.

Last February, a $4,980 grant was awarded 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 for soil relocation that would serve as the bed for the path.

An additional $1,000 grant from the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation also helped with the endeavor.

&uot;This will be a great place for county employees to enjoy some outdoor recreation during their lunch breaks,&uot; Massey said in a previous statement. &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;

If awarded the request from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, the Center would stand to receive up to $20,000 to build an access road through the nature trail with grant funds available on a reimbursement basis. The 2005-2006 Adopt-a-Trail Grant could provide $5,000 for the construction of an overlook and boardwalk at the edge of the two-acre pond on site. The Estuary grant calls for completion of the access road by December 31, with a completion date of June 30, 2006 for the Adopt-a-Trail Grant. Neither of the grants would require matching funds.

In the case of the NC 2005 Recreational Trails Grant, which could provide $32,536 in funds from the NC Department of Environment of Natural Resources, the grant would require a match of 20 percent.

The match, totaling $8,134, can be provided in kind and would be used for crush and run gravel, a 20 x 20 trail teaching station/picnic shelter, tables, benches and signs, according to Ellison.

The NC 2005 Recreational Trails Grant is also a reimbursement grant and requires completion to occur no more than two years from the award date.

Following Ellison’s presentation, Thomas Winstead of Waste Industries Inc., pledged $1,000 towards the project.

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 trail project is a cooperative effort involving the Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource and Conservation Service, the Forestry Service and the Northampton Rotary Club.