Tag Archives: American Tobacco Trail

Construction begins on final link of Cary’s Black Creek Greenway

Cary's Black Creek Greenway under construction at Castalia Drive.

“Hey,” I said interrupting whatever it was we were talking about. “That’s the Black Creek Greenway, isn’t it?”
Why I hadn’t noticed the bulldozer busy at work just beyond the Cycle Surgeon’s property line, I’m not sure because this was the fifth time in less than a week that I’d been at the Surgeon’s Cary garage as he patiently tried piecing together the bike I was borrowing after I’d broken the frame on mine. “I don’t want to spend a lot to get it running,” I’d say every time I brought the newly broken loaner in. Then, noting I have a race this Sunday, I’d add, “And I need it immediately.”
Matt Lodder, a k a the Cycle Surgeon, confirmed that it was indeed the vital last link in the Black Creek Greenway, a vital link between Umstead State Park and Raleigh’s 69-mile greenway network and Cary’s White Oak Creek Greenway, which is close to connecting to the American Tobacco Trail, which is close to connecting to downtown Durham.
“They sent us a letter in March saying they were going to start construction and that it would be done by the end of the year,” Matt said.
When finished, the Black Creek Greenway will run 5.6 miles, from Lake Crabtree County Park to the northeast to Cary’s Bond Park, just over a half mile to the west. Five miles of the greenway is complete; the remaining 0.6 of a mile is what is currently under construction. That stretch includes, according to the Town of Cary Web site: read more

A greenway-connected Triangle

Oh, the places you'll go on the Triangle's greenways come 2014.

For the past week, we’ve been looking at the current explosive growth of the Raleigh greenway system: $35 million to add about 45 miles of greenway. By 2014, Raleigh should have about 116 miles of greenway, with new, vital links along the Neuse River, Crabtree Creek, Walnut Creek, House Creek and Honeycutt Creek. read more

Raleigh’s greenway system: 2014 and beyond

The Neuse River Trail: Backbone of Raleigh's greenway system.

Within two years, here’s how your day on the Raleigh greenways might look.

You start out on a bike ride at Lake Johnson. Park at the boathouse and take a leisurely (except for the hills on the lake’s south side) lap around the lake before heading down Walnut Creek through N.C. State’s Centennial Campus taking note of all the new construction. Stop at the Farmer’s Market to see if the strawberries are in yet, then continue downstream on some of Raleigh’s oldest greenway. Pass the abandoned E.B. Bain water treatment plant, swing by the Walnut Creek Wetland Center, pass through Worthdale and Walnut Creek parks and head on down to the Neuse River. read more

90 Second Escape: The Triangle’s Growing Greenway System

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb. read more

North Carolina’s unsung Rails-to-Trails escapes

On a sunny day, bikers, walkers and equestrians flock to the American Tobacco Trail.

I love a good trail, and while I’m familiar with a lot of traditional hiking trails in North Carolina (see “Backpacking North Carolina” and “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina”) I’m less familiar with the state’s rails-to-trail’s projects. I realized this in December when, on a 50-mile backpack trip of the North Carolina Bartram Trail, I suddenly found myself on a 1.2-mile stretch of paved greenway along the Nantahala River. Later, I learned that I’d been on the Nantahala Bikeway, a U.S. Forest Service project that incorporates a half mile of old railbed along the Nantahala River in Swain County (near Patton’s Run, for you whitewater boaters).
I learned this by noodling around on the North Carolina Rail-Trails Web site, where I discovered the Nantahala Bikeway is not alone. In fact, there are 30 rails-to-trails projects in North Carolina encompassing 130 miles of trail. You’ve probably heard of one or two. In the Triangle, for instance, nearly everyone knows the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-mile, nearly complete trail that runs from western Wake County into downtown Durham. In the mountains, there’s the popular Thermal Belt Rail-Trail, which runs 8 miles from Spindale to Gilkey in Rutherford County, and the 4.5-mile Little Tennessee River Greenway in Macon County. At the coast, folks may have spent some time on the 5.5-mile Jacksonville-Camp LeJeune Rail-to-Trails in Onslow County.
What hampers the visibility of rails-to-trails projects in North Carolina is the absence of true superstars: Virginia’s 57-mile New River Trail and the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail; the 184.5-mile Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park trail in D.C. and Maryland; or the granddaddy, the 237-mile Katy Trail, which spans most of Missouri. We have no superstars in large part because, unlike in the north and  Midwest where railroad companies have been willing to abandon long stretches of line, the obvious prerequisite for a rails-to-trail conversion, rail companies here retain hope that even their abandoned lines may once again become economically viable. And so, we have 30 projects across the state that have capitalized on smaller abandonments, from the 22-mile American Tobacco Trail to the half-mile Lansing Trail in Ashe County. read more