Press release from G5 Trail Collective:
Camp Grier and its G5 Trail Collective program, along with our community partners, are delighted to announce a transformative step forward for our vibrant community as we receive a generous allocation of $2.5 million from the State of North Carolina that will build 25-30 miles of new trails in Old Fort over the next two years. This funding represents more than just the completion of a trail development project; it symbolizes the power of collaboration, community spirit, and vision to drive innovation and growth in Old Fort, NC.
“We’re grateful to Senator Warren Daniel and Representative Dudley Greene for fighting for this support in the 2023-24 state budget”, said Jason McDougald, Executive Director at Camp Grier. “This appropriation is the culmination of years of private fundraising, planning, and community coordination. It would not be possible without our core partners; the U.S. Forest Service, People on the Move Old Fort, Eagle Market Street Development Corporation, and our academic colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill,” McDougald added. “These partners have laid the foundation for Old Fort to be a model for equitable rural development centered on outdoor recreation. This investment will pay dividends for generations and make our community healthier, more connected, and more economically vibrant for all residents.”
The G5 Trail Collective’s mission extends beyond creating trails; it is about fostering community well-being. Two transformative projects are being developed as a direct result of this trail investment. Camp Grier’s Grier Village will add approximately 75,000 sq. ft. of community-focused, lodging, student housing, and classroom spaces on 150 acres, intended to support an equitable outdoor recreation economy in Old Fort, NC, while growing outdoor opportunities for all. Additionally, Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation’s Innovation Hub will offer a commercial facility, featuring a state-of-the-art film studio, commissary kitchen, meeting space, and a manufacturing facility. This is proof of the equitable and symbiotic community development that G5 is advocating for. One where communities take care of the trails and, in turn, the trails take care of them in the form of Economic Revitalization, Community Well-being, Cultural and Environmental Preservation, and Education.
“This critical investment in trail development for the town of Old Fort will spur a significant increase in the economics for the township, “ said Stephanie Swepson-Twitty, President and CEO of Eagle Market Street Development Corporation. Swepson-Twitty added, “This milestone occurrence is paving the way for a vibrant, resilient, thriving community. The immediate visible impact will be job creation and small business development.”
The infusion of $2.5 million into Camp Grier for the G5 Trail Collective is a remarkable achievement and the result of a dynamic partnership between local businesses, community leaders, and dedicated volunteers who came together to shape the future of Old Fort, NC, and its surrounding areas.
For more information about the G5 Trail Collective and our ongoing initiatives, please visit g5trailcollective.org.