June 2023


Volunteer Appreciation Party

By Cindy Ruzak

We Love Our Volunteers!


Over 50 people enjoyed beautiful weather on Saturday, May 6th at the Ecusta Trail Volunteer Appreciation party organized by the FOET Board at Packa’s Place in Horse Shoe. Attendees were treated to terrifically tender fried chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, and delicious macaroni and potato salads from The Fresh Market, along with homemade cookies from the event organizers.

After recognizing all of the individuals and the various categories in which they volunteer for the Ecusta Trail, Lynn Huffman introduced a number of the board members who were present: Mark Tooley - President, Deb Tellman - Treasurer, Nancy DePippo – Secretary, Dean St. Marie - Vice President, Tad Fogel - Director, Matt Matteson - Director, Joe Sanders - Director, John Ditillo - Director and Ken Shelton – Director and Fundraising Chairman. 


Mark updated everyone on the status of the project and Ken Shelton spoke about the continued need for monetary donations and developing more business contributions. The event wrapped up with a raffle drawing for gifts from Blantyre Station, FIND Outdoor, Pisgah Conservancy, Cognitive MTB, and Ingles. A good time was had by all.


Special thanks to Packa’s Place, Chick-fil-A, The Fresh Market, Blantyre Station, FIND Outdoor, Pisgah Conservancy, Cognitive MTB and Ingles.

New Merchandise for a Limited Time

We have some new Merch for sale this summer!  Cognative Mountain Bike has generously designed a 3/4 sleeve Ecusta Trail jersey for us. It is made from their ProMesh Plus fabric. The online store will only be open for a limited time, so you will have to order quickly!


The jerseys can only be ordered June 1 - June 15, and you will order your jersey directly on the Cognative website and it will be shipped to your home.  All proceeds will help us to continue to build the trail.  

Go to https://cognativemtb.com June 1-15 and search Ecusta Trail to place your order.  We can't wait to see you out on the trails this summer in your official Ecusta Trail jersey!

E-Bike Raffle to Benefit the Ecusta Trail!

(Click on the image to purchase your raffle tickets!)

Henderson County Rail-Trail

Advisory Committee

By Cindy Ruzak

The Henderson County Rail-Trail Advisory Committee meeting on May 10th was shorter than most, primarily because the Ecusta Trail project is on track. Senior Planner Janna Bianculli relayed that of all the projects underway in the 5 counties in the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Ecusta Trail is the only one on schedule.


That said, there are a multitude of pieces at play that need to be coordinated to achieve year-end completion. All permits are in process for an expected June approval. Once permits are received, they must be lined up with grant money, which happens at different stages during construction. Then contractors must be scheduled, with the final consideration that asphalt surfacing, planned for the end of the year, is heavily weather-dependent. The trail may need to be opened with a temporary surface, with a permanent resurface in the spring.


The draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Rail Trail was reviewed and discussed, with a vote to take place on its acceptance by all parties at the next meeting in June. This MOU between Henderson County, City of Hendersonville, Town of Laurel Park, Conserving Carolina, and the Friends of Ecusta Trail will be available for viewing online at Draft MOU for Trail Operations.


The MOU defines the responsibilities of each of the parties involved in the operation of the rail trail. Recognizing that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Henderson County to establish a single entity, Henderson County Parks and Recreation was designated to maintain and administer the trail within Henderson County, with the cooperation of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, City of Hendersonville Police Department, and the Town of Laurel Park. Officers from these jurisdictions will regularly patrol the trail system to enforce federal, state, and local law as well as Henderson County Parks and Recreation rules and regulations.


Friends of Ecusta Trail, as a function of their advocacy, will take a leadership role in fundraising efforts for new amenities along the trail. They may develop a trail volunteer program to assist in patrolling and providing information to trail users.


Meeting attendees began defining trail maintenance, both in regard to what will need to be done and which municipality will be financially responsible. Conversation will continue.

Brevard Ecusta Trail

Advisory Board

By Matt Revis

Paul Ray (Brevard City Planning) reported that Pisgah Laboratories Inc. has requested to construct a fence along the trailside bordering their property on Old Hendersonville Highway. Consisting of an 8-foot high chain link covered in black vinyl, the fence will enter the trail right of way. Mr. Ray added that work is nearly complete to devise an encroachment agreement, based on the same document developed by Henderson County. The ensuing Advisory Committee discussion expressed the need to consult with the TPD engineers regarding the best location for the fence, which will extend along the entire property adjacent to the Laboratory buildings.  The Committee approved the request, stipulating that the exact location of the fence must be coordinated with the engineering team.


Transportation Planning & Design (TPD), the engineering firm chosen to design trail construction, continues formulating the Scope of Work (SOW). Lonnie Watkins (DOT) and Mr. Ray have reviewed the latest version of the SOW, attached a few recommendations, and returned it to TPD. Next, TPD will formulate the “fee” that results in a final cost estimate for trail construction in Transylvania County.


Chuck McGrady (Henderson County Trail Advisory Committee) brought positive news related to the release of federal DOT funds. According to his sources, the procedure to release these funds to Henderson County has been placed in the hands of the NCDOT. McGrady expects that the NCDOT will recommend release of these funds at the next Board of Transportation meeting. If approved as expected, funding should be ready for the County to begin the bidding process by the end of this summer. McGrady also reported progress on development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to define the relationship between Hendersonville, the County, and Laurel Park regarding ET responsibilities.


John Ditillo, Friends of Ecusta Trail (FOET), reported that 39 new “No Trespassing” signs have been erected along the ET, another example of work by FOET volunteers. Recently, a large group of FOET volunteers were feted during a volunteer appreciation event. FOET volunteers will share information and boost fundraising from their booth at the Rhythm & Blues concerts on Main Street Hendersonville. Concerts continue this summer on June 15, July 20, August 17, and September 21 beginning at 5:30 PM.


In addition, FOET is receiving support from this year’s 2023 Le Tour de Transylvania (TdT). This cycling event has 21 stages of creative rides across the region, supported and led by members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club (BRBC). This year the Tour is fundraising for the Ecusta Trail.  BRBC Ecusta Trail pledge forms are available at the start of each TdT stage, or this link connects to the pledge form: Ecusta Trail Pledge Form.  (The form can be mailed to Hank Birdsong at PO Box 1, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718 or given to BRBC members at the start of a ride.)


The Committee continues waiting on responses from two large federal grants. In fact, at the next meeting of this committee, June 28, awards for the 2023 RAISE grants (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) are scheduled to be released to the public. Mayor Copelof expressed hope that the next meeting of the Advisory Committee will include a celebration for winning this grant.


Next meeting of this Committee is scheduled for June 28, 2023.   

Tour de Transylvania

The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club will sponsor its 4th Annual Tour de Transylvania starting Saturday, 1 July. This club-only event will feature 21 stages, multiple ride options each stage, and start at various locations around Transylvania County. You must be a BRBC member in order to ride (Not a member? Join here) and stage details will be posted on the club's website. This year's event will benefit the Ecusta Trail (pledge form). Funds raised will be used for the 20% local match required by most state and federal grants. Post-ride fundraising events will be held on Monday, 3 July at Oskar Blues Brewery and Friday, 14 July at Cedar Mountain Outpost and are open to everyone. Show your support for the Ecusta Trail while enjoying great food, beverages and music!

June ET Events


Henderson County R-TAC Meeting

June14, 2023 @ 10:00am – 12:00pm





Brevard Ecusta Trail Advisory Board Meeting
June 28, 2023 @ 3:30pm – 5:30pm


Open to the public. Meeting at City Council Chambers. 

FOET at the Rhythm and Brews

Concert Series

Presented by Horizon Heating & Air, Rhythm & Brews Concert Series brings together live music, local craft beverages, and the community! These FREE shows take place on the third Thursday of every month from May-September, closing part of South Main Street to make room for all the fun. Local food trucks will line the street cooking delicious eats from kettle corn to pizza to barbecue. Each show begins with an opener at 5:30 p.m. followed by the headlining performance from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.


Adults can sip Henderson County beverages from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Bold Rock Hard Cider, Guidon Brewing Co., Oklawaha Brewing Co., Dry Falls Brewery, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, and Flat Rock Cider Company. 

All net proceeds from adult beverage sales will benefit the Friends of Downtown Hendersonville 501c3 nonprofit serving the Downtown Program, whose mission is to identify, preserve and enhance the key factors that contribute to the authentic small town urban character of historic downtown Hendersonville.


June's bands playing on June 15 will be Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights (Blues Rock/Southern Rock) with Carolina Drifters (Southern Rock). Check out the full line up and learn more, here.


FOET NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS: Bernard Grauer, Lynn Huffman, RJ Miner, Matt Revis, Cindy Ruzak and Dana Vance.