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NC Gullah Geechee Greenway/Blueway Heritage Trail

NC Gullah Geechee Greenway-5d6dba67
Dan Dodge

North Carolina Gullah Geechee Greenway/Blueway Heritage Trail Project Gains Support from National Park Service

The Gullah Geechee Heritage Trail project now has yet another eager contributor – the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. This project is one of the 14 new communities and partners across the South Atlantic-Gulf Region that will receive expert consultation from the National Park Service to encourage local recreation, conservation, and economic development opportunities. “I immediately thought this would be a great opportunity to have their technical assistance, as it would push our vision in the right direction.” Willis stated. 

Bill Lane is a landscape architect for the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. He mentioned that this grassroots project was selected for its solid recreational, environmental, and historical foundation. “The whole theme of this project was exciting. Their application stood out among the others due to the background work that Brayton had already put forth.” Lane further stated, “We felt the history of the Gullah culture needed to be told. Not only do we want to share those stories, but also provide a recreational opportunity for the local community and tourists.” 

“The Park Service is extremely excited to be recognizing this area of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and leading them (the NAACP) through the planning process and getting some accomplishments on the ground.” Lane stated. Although his program will not be offering direct funding, they will be primarily responsible for designing, grouping, and planning the overall process. “Our team is brought in as consultants, planners, and for technical assistance.” 

This project also depends on the collaboration of Brunswick County citizens. Both Willis and Lane want to ensure that the public’s constructive thoughts are made clear with representatives. “We are making sure that the community is the focus of this effort, from the very beginning until the end. Our public input phase will be in full force starting this fall. We will be hosting several public meetings to understand where people want to see this trail system. Also, we plan to seek input by sending out public surveys throughout all these locations. During this season, Bill, his team, and I will get together to begin the details for a workplan and timeline, which is of great importance to the project.” Willis stated. 

“This is about our citizens and visitors of all generations. We build projects like these for a lifetime plus of protecting, preserving, and celebrating the Gullah/Geechee culture and making sure that we promote efforts that have a basis for a healthy lifestyle. We’ve been able to put this seed in the ground to get something to continue growing. And we are making sure that the fingerprints of our citizens are on that vision. That’s what this is all about.” Willis stated. 

Donation information for the North Carolina Gullah Geechee Greenway/Blueway Heritage Trail: 

Brunswick County Branch NAACP, C/O Carl L. Parker, President, 1034 Parkwood Drive NE, Leland, NC 28451.

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