On dogs, partnerships and family hikes

By Greg Keener, PLC Development Director.

Cute Dog
Pilot the Pooch

This is our one of our family dogs, Pilot. He is new to our family, a rescue who found his “forever home” with us in October. He’s still learning some of the house rules (my slippers are not toys, Pilot) but overall he is fitting into life with the Keeners, including our 15 year old small dog, Radio, who has shown him how things work for the quadrupeds.

His name was one of many we considered and we think it fits him pretty well. I think it’s just a good dog name, but it is also inspired by the town, state park and iconic knob that represent a part of our family’s life. We take to the trails at Pilot Mountain State Park frequently, sometimes in conjunction with a visit to my wife’s hometown in Pilot Mountain proper. A stop at Good Times BBQ is often mixed in as well.

This isn’t just a “my dog is cute” post (but, seriously, that face, am I right?), it does relate to the work of Piedmont Land Conservancy. As you may have heard, PLC recently helped facilitate the transfer of 70 acres to Pilot Mountain State Park, the largest expansion to the park in 30 years. With this addition the park will add more hiking trails, a monarch butterfly waystation and possibly some other improvements. As something of a regular at this park, I can attest that more trails and more space is a fantastic addition to this well-loved and well-used park.

While I can’t take any direct credit for this project, I can say I’m extremely proud to be a member of the organization that helped put this together. Our state parks in general, and Pilot Mountain State Park in particular, are very special places. And this project is the result of the committed support of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund. Partnerships like this do great things, this is just one example.

On New Year’s Day we headed out for a morning hike at the park and it was so great to see so many people bundled up and getting their boots on the trail so early in the year. Seeing happy faces (people and animals) outdoors is what makes this project, and other PLC projects, so rewarding. It’s a very tangible, clearly visible reminder that the long hours of paperwork, assessments, conversations and fundraising do in fact result in people connecting with nature in areas that will be permanently protected. That means my family can continue to have great hiking days at Pilot Mountain State Park and many other special places in North Carolina.

As I said, I can’t take any direct credit for this project, but I do my part as best I can here at PLC. There are lots of ways you can be involved in our work, from becoming a supporting member, to volunteering on a clean up day, to just helping spread the word about what we do. The Pilot Mountain State Park expansion project, like all of our work, is the result of partnerships and the involvement of like-minded people. I hope you will consider finding a way to be part of our mission in 2016.


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