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Thank you for joining us for the
8th Annual Piedmont Legacy Trails Summit

Welcoming all passionate trail advocates!

The Piedmont Legacy Trails Summit, an annual educational event where passionate trail advocates across the State of North Carolina gather to connect and learn.

On March 10th, 2023, we learned about best practices, exciting projects across the region, and connected with other professionals who are advancing trail development, ending with an optional trail field trip!

The 2023 Piedmont Legacy Trails Summit was a sold out event with 100 trail advocates in attendance!

March 10, 2023


High Point City Lake Park Event Center

602 West Main Street, Jamestown, NC 27282


Click the image to view photos from the 2023 Summit

Summit Schedule:

8:30 - 9:00am

Coffee, Registration, and Networking


Welcome & Keynote Address: Transformation through Trails, Oz Trails, Arkansas

Gary Vernon, Director of Outdoor Recreation and Trail Innovation, Walton Family Foundation


Coffee Break


Trails Driving Economic Return: Building the Outdoor Economy + New Impact Data from the Carolina Thread Trail

Bradley Spiegel, Building Outdoor Communities Specialist, MADE X MTNS,
Steve Bert, Senior Economist, Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE)/NCSU


Thinking Big: The Great Springs Project - A Regional Trail Collaboration in Texas

Stephen Bzomowski, Planning Associate, Alta Planning + Design


Lunch & Piedmont Legacy Trails Awards Presentation


Bridging the Gap Between Land Managers and Volunteers - PANEL

Susan Miller, District Ranger, US Forest Service
Daniel White, Director, Surry County Parks and Recreation
Bryce Mahoney, Northern Piedmont Representative, Carolina Climbers Coalition
Mark Gatehouse, Trail Advocate, Piedmont Fat Tire Society

Facilitated by Martha Becton, Director, Rockingham County Community College Duke Energy TRAILS Program


Regional Round Up and Project Spotlights:

Winston-Salem Greenways – Salem Parkway and New Urban Trail Links, Presented by Matthew Burczyk

Rockingham County Blueway Guide, Presented by Lindsay Pegg

Greensboro’s North Buffalo Greenway, Presented by Shawna Tillery

Alamance County’s Cane Creek Mountain Natural Area, Presented by Nolan Carter


NC Year of the Trail: Advocacy Updates & Call to Action

Jesse Day & Palmer McIntyre, Piedmont Legacy Trails


Optional Field Trip to Piedmont Environmental Center

Big thanks to Dick Thomas with Piedmont Environmental Center for leading a fantastic field trip!

Hosted by:

2023 Keynote Speaker:

Gary Vernon

Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation

Gary is a lifelong cycling enthusiast. Born in Joplin Missouri, he started with Walmart in 1984 in the local store building bicycles for the Christmas season. He stayed with Walmart working his way through college. In 1993 he went into store management after graduation.

He moved to Bella Vista in 2003 as part of his 30-year career taking on a role in the Walmart Corporate Office. He was the president of the volunteer group Friends of Arkansas Single Track (FAST) in North West Arkansas for 7 years maintaining mountain bike trails around the region.

At Walmart he was a Director in the Environmental division working on recycling and sustainability programs before moving over to the Walton Family Foundation in 2015 supporting Steuart and Tom Walton with all their cycling and mountain bike trail projects.

Gary is now a Senior Program officer for Steuart and Tom’s personal foundation and is considered one of the leading experts in developing mountain bike trail systems, overseeing design and construction of over 600 miles of world class mountain bike trails and growing. His work includes the Oz Trails region of Northwest Arkansas as well as the Arkansas State Parks Monument Trail projects. In 2019 he was the recipient of the American Trails Chairman award for advancing trail design and changing the landscape for trail systems.

He has been married to Aimee Vernon for 24 years and has 2 children, Grayson (15) and Abby (20). His hobbies include mountain biking, motocross, and motorcycle trials.



Legacy Awards

The 2023 Summit featured Legacy Awards, given to an outstanding trail advocate, trail project, organization, political leader, business or funder for significant contributions and commitment to creating trails and working for enhanced trail recreation in the Piedmont Triad.

Legacy Award Recipients


Mike Simpson

Retired, Greensboro Parks & Recreation

Hope Haywood

Randolph County Commissioner

Andrew Sam

Friends of Alamance Parks & Alamance Mountains-to-Sea Trail Crew Leader

Winston-Salem Greenways

Outstanding Trail Project in Winston-Salem


Mary Joan Pugh

Randolph County Trails Coordinator

Mark Gatehouse

Piedmont Fat Tire Society

Harry Clapp

North Carolina Rails-to-Trails Volunteer

Yadkin River Park

Outstanding Trail Project in Davidson County


Greg Yahn

MST Crew Leader, Guilford and Alamance Counties

Haw River Trail

Outstanding Trail Project in Alamance County


Roger Bardsley

Retired, Guilford County Planning

Elkin Valley Trails Association

Outstanding Trail Organization in Surry County

badge 2 - blue

Thank you for joining us!

Explore Past Summits

In 2022, the Summit hosted 4 virtual session: Engaging Volunteers, State & Regional Trail Planning, Innovative Strategies for Funding, and Case Studies of Effective Partnerships for Trails. The Summit also featured 4 field trips to trails in the Piedmont Triad. All sessions were recorded and can be watched on our YouTube Channel.

Held virtually, the 2021 Summit hosted sessions on Trail Funding, Community Health & Trails, Trails & Economic Development, and Trail Design & Building. The Summit also featured 4 field trips to trails in the Piedmont Triad. All sessions were recorded and can be watched on our YouTube Channel.

Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, in 2020 the Summit was postponed and became a Virtual Conversation Series in the Fall. Recordings of sessions about The Greenway Imperative, Trail Tourism, Trail Advocacy, and Equity on Trails. All sessions were recorded and can be watched on our YouTube Channel.

What is Piedmont Legacy Trails?

Piedmont Legacy Trails is the trails collective in the Piedmont Triad whose primary goal is to highlight our natural places, connect trail efforts, and give voice to regional trail interests for the the benefit of our communities.