Landis officials plan lake trails

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2011

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
LANDIS — A few YMCA staff members began to discuss a new idea with officials from the Town of Landis officials four years ago. Was it possible to establish a partnership to develop walking trails around the two major lakes adjacent to the Y property?
Discussions between the J. Fred Corriher YMCA and Landis continued, and ideas started to advance. Former Landis Mayor Mike Mahaley and his board, along with Town Administrator Reed Linn began to realize that something special was possible.
At that point, few people knew about the lakes and nobody had considered a wilderness recreation area.
The first steps involved trail-clearing work and an building a bridge to make the smaller lake accessible to the adjacent YMCA property, where parking was available. This work was provided by the United Way Day of Caring in September of 2008 and 2009.
Planning has moved ahead within the last year, headed by Linn and Aaron Crowe, J. Fred Corriher YMCA Aquatics and Fitness Director. The Town of Landis has committed to hire a new park director who will oversee the development of the area.
Amenities will include enhanced walking and hiking trails, fishing, canoeing and wilderness tent camping. Wilderness camping does not provide electrical hookups and vehicles will not be permitted at the sites.
An existing lake house will become the parks office, and an existing pump building may be renovated into a bathroom facility. Fees will be charged for an annual license and daily passes to use the facilities.
Linn said that Mayor Dennis Brown and his board have approved funding, but a new budget will go into effect on July 1. “This is one of the top goals of our board, and I want to focus on parks. Landis wants to open up wilderness recreation. We want to offer what other towns can’t offer,” Linn said.
Landis, known for many years as a baseball and softball hotspot, has leased out its facilities for those sports to the South Rowan Sports League.
The pool has also been leased, allowing the town to operate recreation in a passive manner. Planning a “pay as you go” approach for the wilderness area, eventually a pier, canoe dock, bait and tackle shop and a general store will be included.
A large shelter is also planned that will provide gathering place for churches, picnics, weddings and reunions. The new parks director will seek grants in addition to collecting fees for fishing, canoeing and camping.
“We will work toward making a least a part of the trails meet the North Carolina Disability guidelines. Our goal is to have everyone enjoy this area,” Linn said.
One trail already exists around the small lake and is almost a mile long. Work will begin soon on the next trail, expected to be close to 2[0xbd] miles, around the larger lake.
Eventually, Linn and Crowe hope to develop a mountain bike trail. Motorized vehicles will not be allowed in the trail area.
An open house and grand opening is planned for Sept. 24.
Crowe and other volunteers have planned the “Down and Dirty Adventure Run” as the highlight of that weekend. Participants will climb over trees and other obstacles, and go through natural and manmade challenges.
“Adventure runs are new to this area. They have been big successes in other areas, and this is the perfect location for an event like this. It will be fun,” Crowe said.
The YMCA will have an open house on Sept. 24, and various outdoor supply vendors will be on hand to exhibit and demonstrate their products.
The adventure run will be open to individuals and teams.
“They will climb hills and will definitely have to get muddy,” Crowe said.
Tent camping will be available for the weekend. Contact Crowe for more information about the adventure run at 704-857-7011.
Linn and Crowe are excited about the as-yet unnamed wilderness project and its potential.
“It is unspoiled, much of it not touched by human hands, yet just minutes away,” Linn said. “You might even think you’re on a mountain trail.”