The McGalliard Creek Bridge connects McGalliard Falls Park (26 acres) and Valdese Lakeside Park (330 acres) with a 2-mile greenway trail along McGalliard Creek and Lake Rhodhiss
The vision of the bridge started as Friends of the Valdese Rec was working with the Town of Valdese to acquire the 300 acres for Valdese Lakeside Park. Seeing that the lake property (with 1.3 miles of the greenway) touches the McGalliard Falls Park property, connecting the two with a bridge was an obvious amenity. The bridge will be a tourist attraction since it will be a cantenary suspension bridge with a little “bounce.”
Greenways are free for public use which makes them an equitable recreational asset. In addition, greenways provide significant community benefits with high rates of returns on investment for health, economic, transportation and environmental outcomes in communities of all sizes. Without a doubt, Valdese will see all these benefits with the addition of the McGalliard Creek Bridge – especially being just a few minutes from Downtown Valdese.
The bridge will create a loop trail for the Wilderness Gateway State Trail to come through Valdese – instead of an out and back, if the bridge did not exist. The Wilderness Gateway State Trail connects Baker’s Mountain to South Mountains State Park to Chimney Rock State Park — with a connection to Valdese Lakeside Park from South Mountains.
The bridge will also be a part of the Burke River Trail. The goal is to connect the small towns in eastern Burke County along the river. It will run from the Morganton Greenway through Drexel to McGalliard Falls – across the bridge – to Valdese Lakeside Park – to Catawba County.
The NCDOT DBPT 2016 Pedestrian Plan for Rutherford College and Valdese (called WalkRCV) included this path in the “List of Project Recommendations.” In the report, the project is listed as “F. Lake Rhodhiss Greenway”
The distance from McGalliard Falls Park entrance to Valdese Lakeside Park entrance is about 5 miles. Having the parks connected with the bridge will cut out drive time (or distance biking on narrow roads) for citizens to enjoy the greenway and both parks – making the bridge an environmentally friendly amenity.