The Guilford County Parks Department has been working hard in recent years – doing everything from updating trails, turning tennis courts into pickleball courts, adding park features and holding special events.

At 4 p.m. Friday, May 19, the department is highlighting what should be a major draw for the county’s outdoorsy types.

That afternoon, the county is holding a Grand Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting for Hines Chapel Preserve.

The Preserve, which borders Reedy Fork Creek, is about 450 acres in all – though currently 85 acres of that land is being leased to a farmer.

The  Grand Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting will celebrate new features and attractions and mark the opening of the Grande Peninsula Trail at the Preserve in McLeansville.  That is a nearly one and a half mile trail that’s the newest portion of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

The Grande Peninsula Trail is currently the only completed trail on the property but other ones are in development.

At the May 19 event parks staff and county officials will first offer some introductory remarks and then provide a brief history of the Preserve.

That will take place in the Hines Chapel Preserve parking lot – set your GPS to 4465 Hines Chapel Road, McLeansville – and, after that ceremony, parks staff will lead the crowd on a guided tour highlighting some features of the new trail and other attractions.

North Carolina government and Guilford County have both declared 2023 as “The Year of the Trail,” in an effort to get people outside and walking, and now, with the weather warming up, the hope is that Hines Chapel Preserve and other county parks will get a whole lot more use and county residents will become a lot healthier.

Guilford County purchased the Preserve nearly two decades ago. It was one of the larger pieces of land that the county bought with money from a 2004 parks bond referendum.

Guilford County has partnered with NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation to plant a native warm-seasoned meadow grass on the property.