N.C. Outdoors Tourism Sustains Momentum
Moore’s Springs Campground and Mountain Bike Trails Director Tony McGee is fighting to keep the momentum going on the outdoor tourism project he, and many volunteers, have spent the past couple of years developing, the Stokes (N.C.) News reported.
“We still have a lot to do,” said McGee, “but we are very optimistic about the future and we want to keep doing what we are doing.”
The Moore’s Springs Campground and the mountain bike trails started in 2009 when McGee, with the help of federal grant money and the sweat of area volunteers, started what has become a nine-mile trail through the portion of a 400-acre nature preserve along the backside of the Sauratown Mountains. The trail was designed using sustainable methods that allow for proper drainage and minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
“When I got involved N.C. State was not really able to manage the nature preserve,” said McGee. “They were just keeping the campground going. We stepped in through a local non-profit I was directing that was working to transition the economy from tobacco to tourism.”
McGee, a landscape architect, was able to construct the first 3 1/2 miles of multi-use trails on the Moore’s Springs property in 2009 trough an $80,000 grant from the Workforce Development Board a $25,000 Job Skills Program grant.
“Then the economic downturn hit and it was hard to get funding so we switched to volunteer efforts,” said McGee, explaining that through Facebook he was able to attract volunteers from throughout the Triad region to come and spend time building and then enjoying the trails.
“We had over 70 organized trail days,” he said. “We have over 1,000 hours of volunteer time invested in the trails. There is a real sense of ownership there.”
McGee estimates that the volunteer work and grants equate to close to a $200,000 investment in developing the property for tourism purposes.
“We have created this asset for the community and it is free and open to the public,” he said, noting that the trail system routinely draws mountain bike enthusiasts from Greensboro, Winston-Salem and southern Virginia to the county.
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