Conservationists and YouTuber fund new, biking and hiking trails at Canton nature park

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CANTON, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - A new biking and hiking park is coming to Western North Carolina.

Chestnut Mountain Nature Park will include a park-within-a-park: Berm Park. This comes after town manager Nick Shuer says it was slated to be a NASCAR training facility, an indoor ski resort, among other things years ago.

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy collaborated with influencer Seth Alvo from YouTube to crowdfund and raise over $3 million to make this happen.

Angela Shepherd is the communications director for the conservancy.

“Chunks of contiguous land are becoming more and more rare as we see things being broken up by developments,” Shepherd said.

Schuer says The Town of Canton is building a 450-acre multi-use park. He says the park will include biking and hiking-only trails, a kid’s bicycle playground, a picnic pavilion, scenic overlooks, creek access and more.

Berm Park is just one of it’s additions. It will be designed by Elevated Trails Design, LLC.

“What’s opening, right now, is that 35-acre portion with the skills course. And then, there is a mixed-use trail,” said Shepherd.

This project has been in the works for at least two years.

Samantha Franklin, of Candler, is excited about it.

“I’m just looking for a different variety of trails,” Franklin said, “My husband’s a mountain biker. So, he’s looking forward to the mountain bike trails.”

Franklin hopes this new park can become a place to hike with her growing family.

“With us having a newborn, we’re looking for a place that we can take him to enjoy and explore and, hopefully, get him to enjoy hiking and biking as well,” said Franklin.

What’s important to the conservancy is that the grant calls for them to preserve the land permanently.

“We’ll be doing some research to see exactly what types of species are out, and using the property, and moving; while people are also out and enjoying it,” Shepherd said.

Chestnut Mountain Park and Berm Park will open Saturday, Apr. 23—The day after Earth Day. You can find it right off Highway 23, in Canton.