Regional Planning: Hellbender Trail
(Note: the following information was taken from a longer article in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine entitled Give a Town a Trail. https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/magazine/october-2020/if-you-give-a-town-a-trail/)
Tristan Winkler, director of the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, is working on the Hellbender Trail. The plan is to connect five counties in western North Carolina, including the communities of Asheville, Hendersonville, and Brevard, through 150 miles of greenways.
“It bubbled up from the local levels,” Winkler said. “There have been a lot of bicycle, pedestrian, and greenway plans done in the different municipalities and jurisdictions in our region. We looked at all of these local plans and saw if you start to stitch them together, you really start to put together a big regional system.”
Other multi-use long distance trails in the region, like the C&O Canal Towpath and Virginia Creeper Trail, have proven to be big draws for recreationalists looking for multi-day adventures. The Hellbender Trail focuses on connections across county lines, a sort of interstate system for pedestrians and cyclists.