Chestnut Mountain Nature Park entrance
Thursday, June 29, 2023

State of NC to Help Fund Canton Outdoor Trails

Jun 29, 2023

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) announced today that it is partnering with the Town of Canton on Chestnut Mountain Nature Park. The park, which is on nearly 450 acres one mile east of Canton, features both hiking and biking trails at the former logging site. The $145,000 investment from DNCR will help complete the park’s final three trails and children’s bicycle playground.

“Canton and other small towns need help with hiking and biking trails that attract businesses and help people thrive,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These funds along with other assistance we are providing can help Canton recover economically and bounce back from the mill closure.”

“Governor Roy Cooper and his administration are committed to assisting the people of Canton and Haywood County during this tough time,” said DNCR Secretary Reid Wilson. “Outdoor recreation is one of North Carolina’s top economic sectors, and we see that playing a key role in Canton’s future. Chestnut Mountain is very close to the new Pisgah View State Park, and we look forward to future partnerships.”

“As the Town of Canton works toward recovery from the recent closure of the Pactiv-Evergreen Paper Mill, outdoor recreation represents a primary diversification strategy for us moving forward,” said Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers. “While this transition is far from over, partnerships like this continue to reinforce that the future is bright for our community. We are incredibly grateful to DNCR for this generous investment and look forward to sharing the positive impacts these new amenities will bring to our town, county and Western North Carolina.”

On March 6, Pactiv-Evergreen announced plans to shut down the paper mill in Canton and substantially reduce operations at its facility in nearby Waynesville. These actions have resulted in almost 1,100 employees losing their jobs. The Canton mill has been in operation for more than a century and was the largest employer in Haywood County. For the Governor’s Administration Canton resources, visit:

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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