Gary Shell Cross-City Trail celebrates with 8-mile tour this weekend
Run, Ride and Roll
Saturday, June 1st
Reg., 9 a.m.; event, 10 a.m.
Empie Park, 3405 Park Ave.
Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese in North Carolina, according to the Eat Smart Move More NC campaign. An estimated 30 percent of our state’s children from ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, too. Obesity is not just a health concern, but it also causes personal stress and self-esteem issues, which can become a major financial burden. In our hometown, the City of Wilmington is teaming up with BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina to help inspire movement in our area’s youth and adults as a way to combat the health dilemma.
On Saturday, June 1st, the city will host the second annual Run, Ride and Roll event along 8 miles of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail. Folks are welcome to run, walk, bike, jog, roller skate or skateboard along the trail; strollers and dogs are allowed though motorized forms of transportation are not.
The Cross-City Trail is a primarily off-road, multi-use path which, upon completion, will connect Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway. It currently winds past the Cameron Art Museum and through the campus of UNC Wilmington. The goal is to provide access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in the area, while reducing the need for motor vehicles.
The trail is also part of the East Coast Greenway, a multi-use path stretching from Maine to Florida. It’s been dubbed the “urban Appalachian trail.”
“Aside from being one of the most accessible recreational amenities the City of Wilmington can provide, greenways like the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail also enhance opportunities for multimodal transportation,” Amy Beatty, Recreation and Downtown Services superintendent for the city, tells. “As our region continues to grow and more people move here, congestion on our road network continues to increase—so it becomes increasingly important to provide people in our community with safe alternatives for daily travel. As vegetated buffers, greenways also protect natural habitats, improve water quality and reduce the impacts of flooding in floodplain areas.”
Still, the path likely is most used for its outdoor aesthetics and the quality workout it provides, as folks can be seen running or biking the trail regularly. “From a community health perspective, these greenways can provide a significant, positive impact, potentially reducing our collective risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Beatty continues.
Registration for the event will begin at 9 a.m. Children 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and anyone under 18 must have a guardian sign a waiver. A course safety briefing will take place at 9:45 a.m., and folks can begin to run, ride or roll at 10 a.m. The course will begin at Empie Park (3405 Park Avenue) and will follow the trail four miles to Halyburton Park. Folks can either take the course back to Empie, or a shuttle will be on-hand for anyone not wishing to tackle the entire eight miles.
A scavenger hunt will be offered to increase the fun and learning. “Answers to the questions will be along the trail, with signs marking where they can be found,” Transportation Planner Adrienne Harrington explains. “Completed cards will be turned in at Empie Park and will be used as raffle tickets.”
A general raffle will take place, though some prizes will only be available to those who complete the scavenger hunt. Winnings include gift certificates from Two Wheeler Dealer, Hampton Inn University Area, Omega Sports, Great Outdoor Provision Company and the Riverfront Farmers Market. Hook Line and Paddle will offer two free rentals for a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Other prizes will be offered, too.
Healthy snacks will be provided, such as protein bars. Down East Connect and Feast Down East will bring fruit and vegetables. Other vendors, many of which will be set up at Empie Park, include Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Tidal Creek Co-op, City of Wilmington Recycling Program, Cross-City Trail Coordinate Purchasing Program, Project HEAL, and Coastal Horizons Center.
Continuing the goal for good health, the New Hanover County Health Department will provide BMI (body mass index) testing and nutritional information. And keeping up with good fun, The Mako Band will entertain musically with beach, boogie and blues.
There is no cost to participate in Run, Ride and Roll, and those who do partake will get a T-shirt to commemorate the event, too. Pre-registration is accepted until Wednesday, May 29th at 5 p.m. (form available at www.runrideroll.com, and must be returned to the Recreation and Downtown Services Office at 302 Willard Street downtown by the deadline).
“Altogether, the many functions that greenways like the Cross-City Trail serve benefit all involved: from residents to visitors, and from local businesses to the natural environment,” Beatty assures. “An expanded and interconnected system of greenways will improve overall quality of life.