GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Company Mill property, owned by Guilford County, will now have a three-mile hiking trail, thanks to a group of eight volunteers.
Last year, the Guilford County Parks Department applied for a grant to have AmeriCorps members clear a trail through the land, which is adjacent to Hagan Stone Park. AmeriCorps is a national program through which young adults perform service work, free of charge, for various cities and charities throughout a 10-month term. The grant application was accepted, and the volunteers will work for three weeks to clear the trail.
AmeriCorps volunteers have been working a few days already and said the labor has been harder than they expected.
"Making a trail is really difficult," said volunteer Benjamin Tryon. "Before, I've hiked on trails, and I think I've taken advantage of it."
Matt Wallace, manager of Passive Parks of Guilford County, said he would've loved to see this trail years ago but the funding wasn't there. The team of AmeriCorps volunteers is the best case scenario, he said, because the only expense to the county is providing meals and accommodations.
"We're camping out here at Hagan Stone Park, actually living in tents," Tryon said. "But the great part is they actually have showers and a bathroom."
The group has only a few more weeks left in its 10-month term. Already, the team has completed service projects in West Virginia, Mississippi and Tennessee.
"I've really liked it," said volunteer Jessica Gottlob. "It’s something that got me out. It got me to travel and do different things that I never thought I would."
For many of the AmeriCorps members, it is their first visit to North Carolina. They've been overwhelmed by the kindness of people in Guilford County.
"It's always insane to see how thankful people can be," Gottlob said. "It's really appreciated, and I always get super happy because of it."
The trail should be complete by the end of October, and open for public use shortly after. It runs through the Company Mill Property and connects Hagan Stone Park with Company Mill Road.