Sierra Nevada Gives $250,000 to Ecusta Trail
The Mills River-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has made a major gift of $250,000 toward the completion of the long-awaited Ecusta Trail. This gift will help unlock major federal grants by counting toward the local match for trail construction. Any remaining funds may be used to provide vital amenities so the public can access and enjoy the trail. These may include trailheads, parking areas, restrooms, kiosks, shelters, and benches.
Sierra Grossman, VP of Community & Corporate Philanthropy at Sierra Nevada, says, “The establishment of the new Ecusta Trail in Henderson County, just down the road from our brewery, will provide alternative transportation and recreation benefits to the region—connecting communities and promoting health and wellness. Supporting this project feels like a natural fit, and we’re proud to have contributed to it.”
Kieran Roe, executive director of Conserving Carolina, says, “We are thrilled and grateful to announce this leadership gift from Sierra Nevada in support of the Ecusta Trail. We anticipate that the Ecusta Trail will be a huge boost to our local economy as a popular local greenway and a destination rail trail. When people have more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, that means more customers for businesses like breweries, restaurants, shops, outfitters, and lodging. This exceptionally generous gift from Sierra Nevada will benefit our whole community by supporting local businesses, creating jobs, and raising quality of life.”
Mark Tooley, president of Friends of Ecusta Trail, says, “We are so grateful to Sierra Nevada for their support of the Ecusta Trail. We thank them for this generous gift and their continued support of initiatives like this and to their contributions to the economy and well-being of WNC. Monetary pledges such as this one have been responsible for leveraging many millions of dollars in grants that will be used to construct the Ecusta Trail and create a generational asset for the people of the region.”
Sierra Nevada is one of many local businesses and individuals that have given generously to make the dream of the Ecusta Trail real. In all, the local community gave millions of dollars toward the trail! These donations are making it possible to unlock major state and federal grants, including the more than $45 million in federal grants announced this summer. Over 90 major donors who gave $5,000 or more are recognized at conservingcarolina.org/ecusta-trail-donors.
A subsidiary of Conserving Carolina purchased the 19-mile trail corridor in 2021. Since then, Conserving Carolina and Friends of Ecusta Trail have been working together on a successful campaign to raise the funds needed for construction. Finally, it’s time to start building the trail! A groundbreaking on the first section of the Ecusta Trail—a 5.6-mile stretch between Hendersonville and Horse Shoe—is expected this fall. Ultimately, the trail will extend all the way from Hendersonville to Brevard.