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PBS North Carolina Celebrates the Year of the Trail

Year of the Trail key art with a trail and greenery in background




PBS North Carolina partners with the Great Trails State Coalition and the SECU Foundation to explore NC’s trails, greenways and blueways.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 4/3/2023 — PBS North Carolina announces a partnership with the Great Trails State Coalition to create broadcast and digital stories in celebration of the 2023 Year of the Trail initiative, thanks to generous support from the SECU Foundation.

Led by Representative Hugh Blackwell of Burke County, Year of the Trail is the largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1973 North Carolina Trails System Act, which instituted a state system of scenic and recreation trails.

The Great Trails State Coalition’s partnership with PBS North Carolina helps amplify the reach of the Year of the Trail campaign and connect viewers with trails across the state. In addition, it showcases North Carolina’s beautiful landscapes, promotes the outdoors as sites of healthy recreation and stimulates local economies.

PBS North Carolina’s Year of the Trail stories explore 20 trails across the state that highlight various types of outdoor recreation, including hiking, paddling, mountain biking and horseback riding. The series also showcases the people and organizations that make the trails welcoming and accessible to all.

The first 10 trails will be featured in three PBS North Carolina series: NC WeekendMy Home, NC and Sci NC. Ten more trails will be explored later this year as part of the series Ten to Try. New stories will be shared every month this year on YouTubeFacebookLinkedIn and the PBS App or on PBS NC.

PBS North Carolina’s Year of the Trail stories are supported by funding from the SECU Foundation.

“SECU Foundation’s support for PBS North Carolina spans more than a decade, and we are excited to collaborate once again to support the production of the 2023 NC Year of the Trail series,” said Bob Brinson, SECU Foundation board chair. “This is a phenomenal effort to educate our fellow neighbors and friends about our impressive trail system, greenways, parks and recreation areas all over the state. We couldn’t be more pleased to help celebrate the 50 anniversary of the North Carolina Trails Act and look forward to the upcoming episodes that will launch throughout the year.”

“The generosity of civic-minded partners like the SECU Foundation truly makes PBS North Carolina’s award-winning productions possible,” said David Crabtree, CEO and General Manager of PBS North Carolina. “The SECU Foundation’s longtime support allows us to create and deliver meaningful stories to communities across the state across all our platforms. We’re especially grateful for their support of the Year of the Trail, which connects our viewers to the beautiful and invigorating outdoor spaces for which North Carolina is well known. Our state will feel the impact of this initiative for years to come.”

Palmer McIntyre, Director of the Year of the Trail, adds: “We’re blessed with this amazing diversity of landscapes. Whether you’re in the mountains, among the rolling hills of the Piedmont or in the coastal plain, you’re never far from a great trail experience in North Carolina and that’s what makes North Carolina ‘The Great Trails State.’ There is a trail for everyone regardless of your age or ability—and they’re free to use. Find a trail in your community that you haven’t tried before and get out and experience it.”

Visit Year of the Trail’s website to find a trail perfect for you.


Year of the Trail Stories

PBS North Carolina kicked off Year of the Trail on NC Weekend earlier this year with stories about the Fonta Flora State Trail, the Elkin Valley Trails Association, the Company Mill Preserve in Guilford County and the Green River Cove Trail near Saluda. Other trails to be highlighted this year include Roanoke River trails, Fire Mountain Bike Trails in Cherokee, the Dupont State Recreational Forest waterfall trail near Brevard and Carvers Creek State Park horse trail near Fayetteville.


NC Weekend: “What Is the Year of the Trail?”

Palmer McIntyre, Director of the Year of the Trail, explains the statewide initiative and shares what makes North Carolina’s trail system so special.

Watch now on YouTube. >


NC Weekend: “Elkin Valley Trails Association”

Discover how the Elkin Valley Trails Association enriches the quality of life in the region by building and promoting a network of multiuse trails.

Watch now on YouTube. >


NC Weekend: “Fonta Flora State Trail”

Over the mountains and through the woods, a 100-mile trail is currently being built to connect Morganton and Asheville. A newly completed section in Burke County offers accessible backcountry all year round along the Fonta Flora State Trail.

Watch now on YouTube. >


NC Weekend: “Green River Cove Trail”

Discover a 6.5-mile trail near Saluda, a popular area for birding, hiking, mountain biking and more. This moderate hike offers breathtaking views of the glistening Green River and nearby mountains as well as lots of lush plant life.

Watch now on YouTube. >


My Home, NC: “Blueway Trail Guide Ty Caldwell”

Meet Ty Caldwell, a Robbinsville native and a master blue trail guide. A world-class whitewater kayaker and instructor, he gained the skills necessary to run Class V rapids after learning on the whitewater trails of North Carolina.

Watch now on YouTube. >


NC Weekend: “Weymouth Woods”

Tour Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve with historian Earl Ijames. Experience the longleaf pines that once covered millions of acres in the southeastern United States, plus camping, horseback riding, hiking and more.

To premiere April 18 on YouTube and April 20 on PBS NC.


My Home, NC: “Pisgah Map Maker”

Pete Kennedy has channeled his passion for the outdoors into making analog trail maps for our digital times. Kennedy owns Pisgah Map Company, which makes trail maps of the national forests and recreation areas in western North Carolina.

To premiere on YouTube this spring and on PBS NC later this year.


Sci NC: “Spring Ephemerals at the New Panther Branch Natural Area”

Explore brand-new trails just opening to the public and see the first blooms of spring.

To premiere on YouTube this summer and PBS NC this fall.


Sci NC: “Recovering from Fire at Pilot Mountain State Park”

See how Pilot Mountain is bouncing back from a 1,000-acre fire.

To premiere on YouTube this summer and PBS NC this fall.


Sci NC: “Recreation Means Conservation on Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail”

Removing a dam made Hitchcock Creek healthier and a fun place to paddle.

To premiere on YouTube this summer and PBS NC this fall.


Ten to Try: NC Trails

For those who want to spend more time on our state trails but don’t know where to start, this half-hour special will offer ten trail recommendations from outdoor enthusiasts and experts across the state.

To premiere on YouTube and PBS NC in September.


About the Great Trails State Coalition

The North Carolina Great Trails State Coalition is a broad-based group of more than 50 diverse organizations, agencies and industry partners, including Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, East Coast Greenway Alliance, NC Horse Council, Carolina Thread Trail, The Conservation Fund, Fred Smith Company, McAdams, PermaTrack and multiple NC counties. The Coalition advocates for increased state investment in all types of trails in North Carolina—hiking, paddle, mountain bike, equestrian and paved. Learn more at


About the SECU Foundation

The SECU Foundation promotes local and community development by primarily funding high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services. The State Employees’ Credit Union Board of Directors chartered the SECU Foundation to help identify and address community issues that are beyond the normal scope of State Employees’ Credit Union. While individual members may not have a large impact, collectively and cooperatively the Foundation can go a long way toward helping solve problems in our neighborhoods, schools and our community at large. Learn more


About PBS North Carolina 

As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third largest public media market, PBS North Carolina educates, informs, entertains and inspires its audience on air, online and in person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery and four over-the-air channels: PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS channel and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, PBS North Carolina serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state emergency services. To learn more about PBS North Carolina, visit or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.




Media Contact 
Laura Kieler, PBS North Carolina