In 2021, Equinox was contracted by three Western North Carolina local governments (and partially contracted by Dogwood Health Trust) to assist in and manage the application for large statewide grants to fund projects that will offer outdoor recreation opportunities for free to the public. Three Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (NC PARTF) grants and one Recreational Trails Program (NC RTP) grant were applied for by Equinox staff, and a total of over $1,230,000 in grant funding was successfully secured for local public projects that will have a regional impact. The Town of Canton’s Chestnut Mountain Park, the Town of Woodfin’s Riverside Park and Whitewater Wave, and the Town of Waynesville’s Richland Greenway and Park Extension were all recipient projects of these grants.
Amenities funded through these projects include a stretch of ADA compliant greenway, over eight miles of unpaved hiking and mountain biking trails, riparian enhancements to the banks of the French Broad River, a recreation pavilion with restrooms, a mountain overlook platform, a river overlook plaza, an ADA parking lot, and several other types of recreational amenities. All of these projects will be instrumental in attracting visitors to explore the recreational opportunities to the Western North Carolina region and fill in gaps in availability to local communities that may have not had access to these amenities before.