Rail corridors have been in place and relatively undisturbed for more than a century. They provide scarce natural habitat and often nurture endangered plant and wildlife species, even in urban settings. A linear park can be a living lab for nature study and education.
The Overhills tract consists of a variety of natural habitats typical of the Carolina Sandhills. The proposed Overhills Rail-Trail runs approximately 4.5 miles through professionally-maintained pine forests. The tract also features a number of ponds, lakes, streams and other wetlands; the largest of the lakes includes a cypress swamp which is bisected by the CF&YV right-of-way. In addition, the area is home to a number of endangered and protected species, most notably the red-cockaded woodpecker. One of the tenets of the rails-to-trails concept is responsible stewardship of these resources.
An Overhills Rail-Trail would provide non-intrusive public access to these community environmental assets.