By Suzee Bolton
The Northeast Texas Trail Coalition Board is hosting their first-ever Caught On the NETT fundraising rally Saturday, May 30.
The rally is a cycling, hiking, running and walking rally that will take place on the NETT at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 30.
Cyclists, hikers, runners and walkers will start at the historic Onion Shed next to the city park in Farmersville. The purpose is to raise awareness of the NETT to all trail user groups and promote towns along the trail, while also raising funds for critically needed bridge repairs and improvements. It is the desire of the volunteers leading this event for more outdoorsmen to know this trail is available for recreation and encourage them to get involved in this grassroots movement for quality of life, economic development and to see this trail to completion.
Although this rally is the brain child of one of the trail supporters, who was recently asked to join the board of directors, the board is whole heartedly behind this rally and many are helping to make this rally come to life.
Outside of a few internet promotional sites, this rally has been primarily promoted through social media. The response to this first-ever fundraising rally has been amazing and is a reflection of the interest and synergy surrounding the NETT. Cyclists and runners will pound the trail hard, pushing their endurance threshold, while hikers and walkers will take in all the nature at a more leisurely pace. Even if you can’t cycle long distances or hike several hours you can take a casual stroll and see what the NETT has to offer.
You can expect hospitality at the Onion Shed with breakfast, lunch and dinner items being sold by the Brownie Cottage, as well as a beer garden compliments of Franconia Brewery. A couple of the rest stops along the route will be free, however since this is an opportunity to raise awareness of the towns and build economic development some towns will have refreshments for sale. Come with extra cash to support these towns that are standing behind the trail and COTN to insure you have a great experience. If you are coming from the west and need accommodations, the new ultra-modern Sheraton Hotel in McKinney is offering a special event rate; just mention Caught on the NETT when making your reservation.
The NETT is comprised of 130 miles of trail that stretches from Farmersville to New Boston in northeast Texas. It is the fourth longest trail in America and the longest in Texas. This abandoned railroad bed is being converted into a hiking, biking, walking, running and equestrian trail and interest in the trail grows every day. However the trail is incomplete, although developed in some towns, passable and usable in other sections; but there is work to be done to totally clear the trail and make it safe for all. This recreational trail promotes healthy lifestyles, economic revitalization and tourism in the rural communities that once thrived as a part of the railroad boom. It offers open green space, preserves an historic Texas railway corridor with beautiful bridges, and serves as a wildlife conservation corridor. Imagine how much better this will be once the trail becomes safer for all. To date, almost all clearing and repairs that have happened on the trail have been the result of a grassroots movement.
As was so famously said in the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come.” There are currently over 200 NETT supporters who regularly attend bi-annual meetings. Almost 3,000 who actively follow the trail on social media and another 4 plus million in North Texas that have easy access to the NETT. The reach does not stop there as there have been many who have come from other Texas regions, surrounding states and other countries to check this trail out.
The NETT Coalition is the volunteer advocacy organization dedicated to recycling an abandoned railbanked corridor into a scenic trail that will usher outdoor enthusiasts through the picturesque countryside of Northeast Texas. To accomplish this, a strong partnership with the railbanked agencies has been developed. There are 16 board of directors, trail advocates, bylaws, and a 501c3 organization.
To learn more about this rally and register, go to nettrail.org and select the event. The registration site link is at the bottom of the page. To all who love nature and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors with family and friends, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
A special thanks to all our sponsors who have helped make this dream a reality: Platinum – Richardson Bike Mart, Plano Cycling & Fitness, Greenville Area Social Pedalists; Gold – Hunt Regional Health Care, Brownie Cottage, Casteel Signs; Silver – First Bank of Celeste, Cadence Cyclery, Franconia Brewery; Bronze – Magnusson Hotel, Road ID, Lowes, Primary Care Associates, Sheraton Hotel, Pierson & Fendley Insurance
Copper – Drug Testing of Texas, Ladonia Chamber of Commerce, Farmersville Chamber of Commerce, Brookshire’s Grocery, Clay Potter Auctions.