The G5 Trail Collective is a 501-c3 non-profit initiative powered by Camp Grier in partnership with the USFS, local communities, and recreational trail user groups. G5 Stands for the Grandfather District and the 5 counties it covers - McDowell, Burke, Caldwell, Avery, and Watauga. The G5 Collective was conceived in the town of Old Fort as a solution to the lack of funding for trail maintenance and trail development projects in the Grandfather District. The working group recognized that the district is a tremendous asset and could be a driving force to help build healthy and economically vibrant rural communities. In 2019, G5 launched a pilot trail project in Old Fort, raised more than $200,000 for planning design, and permitting and watched the concept grow into a proposed 42-mile trail expansion on USFS lands surrounding the town. The first six miles of trail and a 105 space parking area are open as of 6/26/2022.
Today, the G5 Collective and it's partners Eagle Market Street Development Corporation (EMSDC), People on the Move Old Fort, the USFS, and UNC-CH have raised over $1 million to fund Phase I of trail and parking lot development. Concurrently, EMSDC has purchased two commercial real estate buildings in downtown Old Fort to serve as a business incubation hub, retail, and light manufacturing space for local entrepreneurs and businesses. This will further the goal of developing outdoor recreation resources alongside commercial and residential spaces to build a healthier and more resilient community in Old Fort.