Peter G. O’Leary

This article proposes a naming contest for a trail from the future… A connecting trail that will bind our county together and provide us with another amenity for residents, tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, and others. If we name it, it becomes real.

I am a big proponent of trails, bike paths, greenways, river walks, etc. I have lived in Chimney Rock Village since 1990 and have seen our downtown go from no river access to now boasting three sections of Riverwalk and a riverside park. These green spaces allow people to connect to their natural surroundings and really see up close the tremendous beauty of our area. They have enhanced my life as a resident and have definitely enhanced my business, Bubba O’Leary’s General Store. Trails are good for residents, visitors, and businesses.

Many communities have developed an iconic trail which has become a huge part of that community. Locally we have the Swamp Rabbit Trail connecting Travelers Rest, SC to Greenville, SC and the Virginia Creeper Trail which starts in Abington, Va. These trails have spawned recreation, development, and tourism and have become real symbols of those communities.

Proposals have been floating around about completing our own iconic trail connecting the east and west portions of our county. Many of the county’s towns have completed sections of trails for pedestrians and bikes. Forest City, Rutherfordton, and Spindale have the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. Lake Lure and Chimney Rock have short trails along the Rocky Broad River and the beach area of Lake Lure. What if we could tie them all together?

A proposed sewer line is being considered to connect Lake Lure’s treatment plant to the Rutherfordton – Spindale area. The “Green Line” as it is called would follow Highway 64 between Lake Lure and Rutherfordton. The easement for this line could take the form of a multiuse easement which could then allow for a greenway trail along its path. This could spur the construction of connecting trails and paths from Chimney Rock – Lake Lure to the Forest City-Spindale-Rutherford area. Look no further than Travelers Rest, SC to see what a connecting trail system can do for a community (see links below).

So the proposal is this: come up with a name for the trail and then use the name to incubate and create the trail. Make the case for naming the trail ” __________________”. The first potential name will be revealed in the next Breeze issue. Your chance will follow. The name should be marketable, descriptive, of local significance, tie the county together, and memorable. Make your case for these items as well as the history of your name, relevance to the area, and any other attributes you feel make your name the best. You can follow the format of the first article and write an article to support your case.

We could have some fun with this and possible even create the next big thing like Lake Lure’s Flowering Bridge crew did. The idea and the name came first and then the vision became reality.

Name the trail, envision the trail, support the trail, and then we can enjoy the trail. Please send your trail naming ideas to: