Fonta Flora State Trail
About the Fonta Flora State Trail
The Fonta Flora State Trail (FFST) is a recreation facility that provides an unparalleled experience for people of all ages and abilities. The long term vision for the Trail is to connect Downtown Asheville with Downtown Morganton. The first section to be built will be a 29-mile loop around one of North Carolina's premier recreation destinations, Lake James.
Primarily a natural surface trail, the FFST provides users with gentle grades and spectacular views of Lake James. It is open to hikers and bikers year-round. This public resource was made possible through the hard work and collaboration of Burke County, Duke Energy, Crescent Communities, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, private landowners, area residents, and volunteers.
How the Project got Started
The Lake James region in western Burke County, North Carolina, has provided a wealth of recreational opportunities since the lake’s creation in the early 1920s. The expansion of Lake James State Park has added valuable public access and many bicyclists and runners regularly use the roads around the lake.
This project started as a dream more than a decade ago. In 2004, a formal agreement with Crescent Resources allowed the State of North Carolina to purchase land to be added to the existing Lake James State Park located in McDowell County. Crescent Resources also dedicated trail easements for the Fonta Flora State Trail and Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT) on properties they owned.
In 2006, Duke Energy began the relicensing process through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for their hydropower facilities along the Catawba Wateree system. Recreation commitments made as a part of the relicensing process included easements across Duke Energy properties and approximately $1.1 million for development of the FFST and OVNHT. This combination of events has resulted in a renewed interest in the development of the Trail
Plans for Trails
Through a collaborative planning process, community members articulated a vision for how best to connect people and places with trails around Lake James. While this plan won't happen overnight, Burke County has made astounding progress.
There are 10 miles of trail on the ground right now with another 6.5 miles on the way. Realizing the full scope of the Fonta Flora State Trail will take many years, but the loop around Lake James will serve as the spark to ignite the passions to complete it.
If you have any questions about the construction of the Fonta Flora State Trail, contact Burke County Community Development at 828-764-9030. See status updates for Fonta Flora County Park.