Many of the roads North Carolinians drive on today started centuries before the coming of the colonists. Centuries ago woodlands and meadowlands were thick with deer, buffalo, and other smaller animals that made trails from one feeding ground to another. Later Native Americans would follow these trails. As the colonists began to arrive, these trails gradually widened. Usually they were dirt and in rainy periods could be almost impassable. Plank roads followed some in the mid-1800s, but it would be around 1900 before North Carolina began to take a serious interest in road improvement.