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WNC Business

2023: The Year of the Trail

May 31, 2023 09:04AM ● By Randee Brown

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the state’s 1973 Trails System Act, the North Carolina General Assembly designated 2023 as the Year of the Trail, an effort led by the Great Trails State Coalition. A combination of NC State Parks, Visit NC, the State Employees Credit Union, 60 nonprofits, local governments, industry partners, and other businesses are helping to support the campaign with special events throughout the year. 

The Year of the Trail celebrates trails of all kinds throughout the state, and has a mission to spread the message of how important trails are to people’s health as well as to the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy.

The outdoor recreation industry generates $11.8 billion in annual revenue for the state in gear manufacturing, guiding services, equipment, and other services. The industry also supports about 130,000 jobs in NC, according to the Year of the Trail organization.

The Year of the Trail Community Toolkit serves as a resource to support trail events and community engagement around trails across the state of North Carolina. It includes helpful resources, background and information about the state-level Year of the Trail campaign, the history, impact, and opportunities surrounding trails in NC, and a guide to hosting Year of the Trail events in local communities around the state.

The Toolkit also includes downloadable resources that may help navigate NC Year of the Trail including Year of the Trail logos and branding assets, planning tools, templates and much more.

Chapters of the Toolkit include:
1 - What is the Year of the Trail?
2 - North Carolina is the Great Trails State
3 - Trail User Guides
4 - Hosting a Trail Event
5 - Community Engagement Strategies
6 - Trail Support Beyond 2023

Find the Year of the Trail Community Toolkit at

Asheville Ale Trail announced its support of the 2023 NC Year of the Trail by donating proceeds from merchandise sales throughout 2023. With representing two important layers of what makes Western North Carolina special – the craft brewery industry and the great outdoors - Asheville Ale Trail celebrates and supports the NC Year of the Trail by allocating $5 of every merchandise item sold on as a donation to the Carolina Mountain Club throughout 2023.

“Out(doors) and About this Summer!” Artwork by Lauren Patterson