NEWTON — Catawba County is hosting a day-long celebration at Riverbend Park to officially open the park’s new trail system Saturday, Sept. 14. The grand opening celebration will take place on the park’s new property at the Riverbend Park Events Entrance, located at 7490 Riverbend Road in Claremont.

Riverbend Park has added 209 acres and seven miles of multi-use, natural surface trails adjacent to the park’s existing 450-acre, 12-mile trail system. The new property offers expansive views of Barrett’s Mountain, the Brushy Mountains, and the Catawba River on trails that wind through mature forests, rolling hills, open meadows and natural habitats ranging from riparian corridors to upland forests.

The day’s activities are free and open to the public and include a 9 a.m. bird walk with Ranger Dwayne Martin, 10:30 a.m. music by Byron Bean and Friends, and an 11 a.m. park dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting followed by a wildflower walk with Ranger Lori Owenby, a hawk watch station and unguided trail walks and hikes. Refreshments will also be served.

Appraised at $1.2 million, the majority of the expansion property’s land value was donated to the county by the Byron Bean family in memory of the late Harriet Bean, whose family’s wish was for the land to be publicly used in perpetuity for education, conservation and recreation.

The property was acquired by the county through a grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Since 1997, Catawba County has received nearly $900,000 in PARTF grant funds to support the creation and enhancement of the county’s parks system.

For more information about the Riverbend Park Expansion grand opening, call Catawba County Planning & Parks at 828-465-8380.

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