CHARLOTTE – Construction on an almost 20-mile greenway in western North Carolina will begin soon, eventually connecting the mountain towns of Hendersonville and Brevard on a paved path that only increases 20 feet in elevation.

Yes, for those who prefer to walk or bicycle on flat land, that 20-foot figure – even in the mountains of western North Carolina – is correct, says Chris Todd, the business and community development director for Henderson County. The “how can that be possible” is answered by the fact that the trail will be built over an abandoned railroad line, he says.

A map of the proposed Ecusta Trail Greenway, which when finished will link the towns of Brevard and Hendersonville.


Quick facts:

  • Total cost will be about $55 million, and the federal government has already pledged $46 million.
  • Project should be done within three to five years, with some of that due to the timetable related to when the federal dollars become available.
  • The first six miles – beginning with its Henderson County terminus in downtown Hendersonville – should be completed within 12 months.
  • Greenway will be called the Ecusta Trail. “Ecusta” is derived from the Cherokee word for rippling waters, which is appropriate because portions of the trail follow the French Broad river. The name was also used by the Ecusta paper mill, which was in operation from 1939 to 2002 and employed almost 3,500 workers in its prime.

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