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Mt. Holly Trails Update
The Tarheel Trailblazers made our first site visit on August 26th to the 500 acre property recently offered as a possible mountain bike destination in Mt. Holly. The property borders the southwest shore of Mountain Island Lake and is a buffer for the City of Gastonia water intake. It has also been designated as a Conservation Easement which means that it will not be subject to development in the future.

The first walk was made by President/Trail Coordinator Frank Pietras, Past President Jeff Smith who has been instrumental in coordinating with the Cities of Mt. Holly and Gastonia, and Trailblazer member Ray Broome who is a past resident of Mt. Holly and a current business owner there. The walk explored the southern part of the property near the dam for Mt. Island Lake. At first glance, the property resembles Historic Tuckasegee Ford Park (Catawba) is many ways, but it may actually surpass it in its scenic beauty.

The portion visited was heavily wooded, primarily with mature hardwood trees. The lake was visible from several places. The gound surface resembled pit gravel, apparently due to the abundance of exposed granite rock which breaks up as it erodes. Like HTFP, the property is strung with numerous power line easements, but it is also riddled with existing double track 4-wheeler trails. It seemed that those trails had not been heavily used recently, and they could be easily cleared to create an initial trail "backbone". The potential for 20+ miles of quality trails seemed obvious even from our limited initial view of the tract.

Thanks go out to Jeff Wise of Charlotte Whitewater Park for his efforts in encouaging the development of a trail corridor along the Catawba River. The Trailblazers will continue to work with the City of Mt. Holly to establish a contract that will allow public access to the property. The idea is to create an opportunity for economic growth for Mt. Holly by developing a regional recreational draw. We hope to include the Trailblazers as consultants and volunteers in a trail building process. We will report progress as it develops!

Frank Pietras

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Tarheel Trailblazers | 182 Saddle Road | Mooresville, NC 28115
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