Tag Archives: Raleigh

Falls Whitewater Park: A worthy investment

Future home of the Falls Whitewater Park?

Tonight, proponents of the Falls Whitewater Park will go before the Raleigh City Council in hopes of adding the proposed park to an upcoming Raleigh parks bond referendum. The council should unanimously approve the request. A little background, then the “why?”
The effort to create a modest whitewater park at the base of Falls Lake dam began more than a decade ago. It was spurred in part by efforts to lure the headquarters of USA Canoe/Kayak, the governing body of Olympic paddling. (USA Canoe/Kayak ended up going to Charlotte, which had a shinier thing in the U.S. National Whitewater Center. In 2011, USA Canoe/Kayak abandoned Charlotte for Oklahoma City.)
Herein lies part of the beauty of the Falls Whitewater Park: unlike the 500-acre, $38 million National Whitewater Center, which offers everything from mountain biking trail to a climbing tower to whitewater paddling on a half-mile man-made river, the Falls Whitewater Park epitomizes simplicity. Utilizing the existing rock structure at the base of the dam with minor channeling tweaks, the Falls Whitewater Park could offer whitewater paddling on release from the dam near its minimum of 150 cubic feet per second; thus, nearly guaranteed recreation year-round. Approximately $345,000 has already been allocated by Raleigh and Wake County toward the project; the overall cost has not been determined, but the investment would be overshadowed by the ultimate return.
The Falls Whitewater Park would be at the heart of a rapidly-emerging outdoors playground; it’s addition could establish the area as a regional adventure destination. Consider: read more

Update: The Triangle’s evolving bicycle-pedestrian Scene

Tata

Progress never comes fast enough.
That was evident at this morning’s Fourth Annual Triangle Bike and Pedestrian Workshop, where local transportation planners got together to talk about progress made in 2013 and share what’s on the drawing board for this year and beyond. Nothing like getting a look under the tree a year or more in advance. read more

Ten places for a spring paddle

An adventure begins on Milltail Creek.

Last Thursday on a trip down east  was my first day on the water and it put me of a mind to spend more time paddling. The quiet, save for the birdsong and the occasional gal-lump of a turtle inelegantly abandoning sunny log for murky water. The wildlife, including an alligator that was even more distracted by the sun and warmth. The emergence of spring, with the pastel buds of green, white and crimson giving the world a soft focus field. The unique calm that only paddling flat water can offer. read more

Crabtree Creek Greenway on the verge of linking with Umstead

Currently, the Crabtree Creek Trail ends at Lindsay Drive, just short of Duraleigh Road.

A settlement reached earlier this week between Raleigh and the owners of a quarry along Crabtree Creek means the city can finally proceed with a 2- to 3-mile extension of the Crabtree Creek Trail into Umstead State Park. The extension will create a roughly 18-mile paved greenway along Crabtree Creek from Umstead to Raleigh’s 28-mile Neuse River Trail.
“It’s the last missing piece,” Vic Lebsock, Raleigh’s senior greenway designer, said this morning.
The Crabtree extension had been held hostage in a battle between the city and local homeowners and Hanson Aggregates, which owns the Crabtree Quarry. Local residents didn’t like the blasting required to mine the rock; Hanson had a lot more rock it wanted to mine. (Read more about the settlement here.)
The settlement ends a 20-year dispute and clears the way for design to begin on a trail that Lebsock says has its “difficult aspects.” Foremost among them: On the east end the trail will need to climb up from Crabtree Creek to avoid a stretch of land Hanson will be allowed to quarry for about another 40 years.
“We’ll need to design-in switchbacks and make the trail handicap accessible,” Lebsock says. The  greenway will climb for about a quarter mile along Duraleigh Road, then follow a ridgeline across to Richland Creek, where switchbacks will again be employed to take the greenway down to Crabtree Creek. From there, the greenway will continue to Umstead.
There is currently no funding for the project, estimated to cost about $3.5 million. But that appears to be a temporary concern.
Lebsock says he’s currently pulling together “residual funds” from other greenway projects to fund the design element. He expects the design to begin by summer, with construction possibly beginning by summer 2015.
“That would be really aggressive,” says Lebsock. But if it happens, the trail could possibly be done by the end of next year. read more

Leon willing, here’s where you can cross-country ski

Touring the bike & bridle trail at Umstead State Park in Raleigh.

It’s days like today that I pat myself on the back for a decision made 13 years ago.

I’d just finished a gorgeous day on the groomed trails at the White Grass ski touring center in West Virginia and was returning my rental equipment.
“How was it?” asked the ski rental guy.
“Incredible!” I oozed. “I can’t wait to go again.”
“You know,” he said, “Our rental skis are for sale.” At a price, it turned out, that was more than I could afford but too good to refuse. I’ve used them a dozen times since; I’m hoping to make it a baker’s dozen tomorrow.
As Winter Storm Leon (sheesh) makes its way up the coast, the prospects are good for cross-country conditions, from the Triangle into the coastal plain. As of this morning, parts of the Triangle were expected to get up to six inches of snow — with points east forecast to get 10 inches or more.
On the right kind of trail, six inches is all it takes to make or decent cross-country conditions. Where might one find the right kind of trail?
Glad you asked. read more