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  • Founding of the Highlands Greenway
  • Volunteer Activities
  • Board of Directors
  • Highlands from Sunset Rock, 2007, photograph by Randolph Shaffner Official Documents
    List of Native Trees & Shrubs
    List of Invasive Trees & Shrubs
    Greenway Trail Map
    Georgia Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Planning Guide

    The Highlands Plateau Greenway was designated a National Recreation Trail
    by the Secretary of the Interior on May 3, 2010.

    For the article, see Highlands: Featured National Recreation Trail.

    Also Hillrie Quin was honored by American Trails
    with the 2010 State Trail Worker Award for North Carolina.

    For the article, see 2010 State Trail Worker Awards.

    founding of the highlands plateau greenway

        The Highlands Plateau Greenway is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop a system of walking and hiking trails that protect and connect the natural settings and historic sites of the Highlands, N. C., area. It is intended to be a locally owned and managed trail system for walkers and hikers of existing and planned paths along a continuous, safe, green route, easily identified through signage, maps, and user guides designed to promote the publicís enjoyment and appreciation of the natural and historical environment as well as quality of life on the Highlands plateau.

    The Botanical Garden behind the Nature Center, 2005, photograph by Randolph ShaffnerHighlands has undergone tremendous growth in the past decade, and that growth will continue making demands on streets, parking, and regional recreation capabilities and encroach on the remaining green space. Tourism has a profound effect on the environment and increases demands on the town. For these reasons, a renewed emphasis on greenway trails is timely and will help alleviate some of these problems.

    Rhododendron Trail Through the Primeval Forest, 2005, photograph by Randolph Shaffner Although Highlands had a greenway trail extending from Sunset Rock to Mirror Lake prior to 2005, it was in the spring of that year that a more extensive greenway trail system was proposed to and approved by the Highlands Town Council as well as the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, and a Highlands Greenway Committee was formed. Work began immediately on a master plan to connect natural areas and historic sites in the town and provide alternate transportation routes to shopping, educational offerings, and civic destinations. Existing and proposed trails would incorporate botanical points of interest, historic sites, important birding areas, art, scenic overlooks, and other areas of natural beauty. The timeline for the project was projected to be five to ten years to completion.

    View of Highlands from the Bearpen Tract, January, 2006, photograph by Randolph ShaffnerThe Highlands Greenway Committee then partnered with the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, the Town of Highlands, the Laurel and Mountain Garden Clubs, the Audubon Society, the Highlands Historical Society, Land Stewards of the Highlands Plateau, the National Park and Forest Services, the Department of Transportation, the Highlands Biological Station, and the Conservation Fund. To date, a membership corporation has been created (The Highlands Plateau Greenway), changes in the zoning and subdivision ordinances have been passed, a grant from the N. C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and a line of credit from the Town have been approved (amounting altogether to more than $100,000), trail scouting has begun, and a Greenway trail map and brochure have been printed showing existing and proposed sections of the first stage in the comprehensive greenway plan. The Lyndon B. Johnson Job Corps has installed benches along the existing trail. And trail construction, as proposed by Unturned Stone (specializing in hand-built back-country trails), will begin this Fall.


    volunteer activities

    Building Rock Steps, September, 2008, photograph by Randolph ShaffnerConstruction on the Greenway Trail began in the Fall of 2008, commencing with a new loop trail and rock steps behind the Recreation Park near the wooden bridge over Mill Creek. Opportunities for volunteer help have included grant writing, trail construction, trail maintenance, native plant enhancements, publication development, and town ordinance revision. Frequency of involvement varies from daily to weekly, monthly, or annually, depending on volunteer availability. See Event Calendar for scheduled activities. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to Contact us.

    board of directors

    Ran Shaffner, President
    Hillrie Quin, Vice President
    Kevin Gates, Secretary
    Julian Franklin, Treasurer
    Sonya Carpenter   Kelder Monar   Kathy Smith
    Ex-officio:   Lester Norris   Kyle Pursell

    Ran Shaffner, Trail Supervisor

    The Highlands Plateau Greenway is a (501)(C)(3) organization.

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    This website is constantly under construction. For more information about the Highlands Plateau Greenway, please Contact us or write to P. O. Box 2608, Highlands, NC 28741.
    Last modified on July 24, 2017.