Sullivan portion of Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail may become certified

J. H. Osborne • May 9, 2007 at 1:33 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - Twenty-two miles of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail - which stretches 330 miles across parts of Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina - pass through Sullivan County.

At least on maps.

But nowhere in Sullivan County is the trail officially "on the ground" and walkable.

That may change by the end of the year, members of Sullivan County's Regional Historic Zoning Commission were told Tuesday.

Paul Carson, superintendent of the trail, spoke with the group.

He said a walking trail in Bluff City could become a certified portion of the multi-state trail by the end of the year.

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is part of the National Trails System administered by: the National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina; local governments along the trail's routes and historical societies and citizens' groups.

The trail commemorates the 1780 trek of patriot militia groups from Abingdon, Va., . and Elkin, N.C., to fight British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

Congress designated it a historic national trail in 1980 and two years later signed off on the NPS's determination of the primary route taken by the patriots in 1780, Carson said.

To be certified as part of the trail, walkways must be within one-half mile of either side of that route, Carson said.

Out of the 330 miles total, about 60 miles of developed trails are accessible for people to walk, Carson said.

There are portions in Washington County, Va., and Carter County, he said, but none in Sullivan County.

About $17,000 in federal grant money is available to Sullivan County for development of a greenway master plan.

Completion of that master plan, along with certification of Bluff City's trail section, could help spur both community interest and future grant funding for further development of the trail in Sullivan County, Carson said.

A "Commemorative Motor Route" allows history buffs to drive the trail's routes using state highways and in many areas it actually follows the original 1780 route.

This year the NPS introduced a brochure which for the first time ever gives the public a map of the total trail in all four states, Carson said.

Each year the Overmountain Victory Trail Association conducts a two week long commemorative march along the route to trace the 1780 campaign. Highlights include special events and ceremonies - a perfect opportunity for dedication of the Bluff City trail if it is certified in coming months, Carson said.

More information is available online at www.ovta.org and www.nps.gov/ovvi.

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