Raleigh Nature

December 30, 2012

Raleigh’s Greenways Hook Up With House Creek

Filed under: Greenways & Parks, waterways, West Raleigh — Tags: , , , — raleighnaturalist @ 10:32 pm

House Creek greenway construction

The new House Creek section of Raleigh’s ever-expanding greenways is up and running – the grand opening was September 25th; most of my pictures are from its construction phase.  The trail, which follows House Creek and the Beltline from Wade Avenue to Glenwood, is a vital connection between the Walnut Creek and Crabtree Creek watersheds and their respective stretches of greenway.  With the inclusion of the pedestrian bridge over 440 and the NC Art Museum Park, it has earned recognition from National Recreation Trails as a unique, multi-partner amenity.  It enables many long trip options across Raleigh, as detailed by that inimitable outsider, Joe Miller.

future beginning of House Crk greenwayThe new trail begins here, looking down the powercut from the Meredith side of the pedestrian bridge, which we should remember is the longest in North Carolina.  This is before construction, when I used to ease down this powercut to see deer.

House Creek tributary joins at Lake BooneAt Lake Boone, a tributary enters and there is a sturdy concrete bridge installed in this spot, seen below.

House Creek greenway bridge

The trail follows a long slope that sides the long and narrow floodplain of House Creek, which begins up near the Vet School and Faculty Club and cuts through the Museum campus before edging 440 all the way around to Crabtree Mall.  This is yet another example of how Raleigh’s Beltline was built on the under-used floodplains of the creeks surrounding central Raleigh.  House Creek is clean and lovely in this stretch, and is bordered by rich mixed pine and hardwood slopes.  There is even an unpaved side trail that explores this slope.

House Creek side trail

House Creek slope near Beltline

House Creek slope near Beltline

The project crosses the Beltline with a tunnel at Glen Eden and then hits Blue Ridge Road  and connect with the Crabtree Trail.  the pictures below ( and all others) click to enlarge.

greenway tunnel at Glen EdenHouse Creek crosses BeltlineHouse Creek greenway NW side of Beltline

The end near Crabtree is quite level (and swampy).  The side trail was an earlier alternate for this reason, I think, but now the trail sports a nice boardwalk over the lowest part as well as some kind of structure I haven’t yet seen finished.

House Creek boardwalk

House Creek Trail structure in progress

House Creek Trail structure in progress

New House creek greenway seen from Blue Ridge Road

New House creek greenway seen from Blue Ridge Road

Blue Ridge road connector

Blue Ridher road connector

This was a fun project to watch because of some engineering challenges and the heavily wooded setting. I will end with some of that.  Happy New Year to the Raleigh greenway system – 78 miles and going strong!

House Creek bank

House Creek bank

House Creek beside Beltlinerasied section of greenway

House Creek Trail construction above Lake Boone

House Creek Trail construction above Lake Boone

Raleigh greenway information

Advertisements

June 29, 2008

Bikes Trails RIP – highlights greenway loss

Filed under: Central Raleigh, Crabtree Creek, Greenways & Parks, North Raleigh, waterways — Tags: , , — raleighnaturalist @ 9:08 pm

This post was originally posted on March 6, 2008.            

                   

The destruction of the bike trails described by Joe Miller is not just significant for these bandit bikers: all users of the greenway between Atlantic Avenue and Capital Boulevard should mourn the loss of this old farm site, whose naked hillsides (and future clapboard townhouses) are easily visible from the greenway. Riparian buffer is the term for the ecological value of these wooded areas contiguous with the greenway:  the trees absorb rain as well as pollution, shade and cool the waters of Crabtree.  Of course, the wildlife appreciates wooded areas next to the creek as well.

***********

This is a rich and variegated section of greenway with lots of interesting features in addition to the old farm site.  If you park off Capital Blvd. at its intersection with Yonkers Road, you will have to jump the barrier that tells you this problematic section of greenway deck needs shoring up.  The risk seems minimal, and I’ve done it many times.  From this deck you can see the naked hillsides, and then follow that section of greenway as it heads toward Atlantic Avenue.

************

view-from-atlantic-ave_1_1

A view from the greenway of what Joe Miller describes as the mohawk look. 

 Above is the view from the new development at the south end of Six Forks. 

This lovely path begins at the base of the hillside deck and heads straight toward the southbound ramp off the beltline for Capital Boulevard.  If this stretch survives the development, that will be significant for this greenway section.

 

From the west end of the problematic deck, you are looking toward Atlantic Avenue.  This stretch parallels Hodges Road and looks across Crabtree at the old site for the State Farmer’s Market.  Below you see a bog visible to the right of this stretch.

 

Now just across this bog we have an interesting situation. Several fellows have set up a tent just behind the Atlantic Ave marsh area and are creating quite a trash pile nearby.  The trash is visible from the greenway, but won’t be long as things green in. I have observed these camps and also the urban “nesting sites” downtown and under bridges for many years and almost never gotten bad vibes from them.  But that is some nasty trash!  We’ll end the post with the sunset cattails which are literally within sight of the tent and trash.  Be careful out there!

 

 The marsh below has been short of water since well before the drought.  It appears to me that the greenway construction changed the drainage somehow.  What you’re looking at used to stay under two feet of water most of the year.  I guess the incoming water and sedimentation will re-adjust things over time.  Anybody know?

 

February 26, 2008

Atlantic Ave. and Hodges Road – industrial greenway (draft title)

Filed under: Central Raleigh, Greenways & Parks — Tags: , — raleighnaturalist @ 11:47 pm

 

 

Joe Miller’s recent column about the “bandit trails on the northeast section of the greenway expresses justified shock at the denuding of these hillsides right next to the greenway.  His concern is the trail bikers, whose magnificent structures are only hinted at in my  only pictures before their destruction.  I am sorry I didn’t photo more – I always felt a little guilty about creating evidence against them.  But now I wish their death-defying ravine crossing were documented.  Maybe, somewhere, they are.

But the larger picture surrounding this greenway is just about as fascinating…Longbranch, steep hillside engineering project ( under repair), the rock that turns Crabtree…and the shocking side by side shots of the winter view from the greenway then and now

http://blogs.newsobserver.com/joemiller/index.php?title=atlantic_avenue_trails_r_i_p&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Final post as it appeared on Raleigh Rature’s 1st url.

published March 6, 2008

Bike Trails RIP highlights greenway loss

                                              

     The destruction of the bike trails described by Joe Miller is not just significant for these bandit bikers: all users of the greenway between Atlantic Avenue and Capital Boulevard should mourn the loss of this old farm site, whose naked hillsides (and future clapboard townhouses) are easily visible from the greenway. Riparian buffer is the term for the ecological value of these wooded areas contiguous with the greenway:  the trees absorb rain as well as pollution, shade and cool the waters of Crabtree.  Of course, the wildlife appreciates wooded areas next to the creek as well.

     This is a rich and variegated section of greenway with lots of interesting features in addition to the old farm site.  If you park off Capital Blvd. at its intersection with Yonkers Road, you will have to jump the barrier that tells you this problematic section of greenway deck needs shoring up (since repaired).  The risk seems minimal, and I’ve done it many times.  From this deck you can see the naked hillsides, and then follow that section of greenway as it heads toward Atlantic Avenue.

view of Joe Miller's "mohawk look" from greenway

view of Joe Miller's "mohawk look" from greenway

view from end of Six Forks

view from end of Six Forks

      All is not lost.  Below is a lovely path that begins at the base of the hillside deck and heads straight toward the southbound ramp off the beltline for Capital Boulevard.  If this stretch survives the development, that will be significant for this greenway section.

 

    

From the west end of the dramatically steep but problematic deck, you are looking toward Atlantic Avenue.  This stretch parallels Hodges Road and looks across Crabtree at the old site for the State Farmer’s Market.  Below you see a bog visible to the right of this stretch, and the cattail marsh between it and Atlantic.  This marsh has not kept its water – aside from the drought – since greenway construction occurred at its feed into Crabtree.  It is quickly becoming a scrub meadow.

December 31, 2007

Welcome to The Natural History of Raleigh

 fall-on-the-west-beltline_1_1_1.jpg

Fall on the Beltline at Jones Franklin

*************

Our trees, almost without exception, show the succession process at work, with loblolly pines taking over abandoned land, maples and dogwoods peeking out from under as they age, and hardwoods like oak, hickory and tulip tree slowly rising out of the aging pines as disease and self-pruning clears the way.  This stand on the southwest corner of the beltline exemplifies this science idea and is also a “purty sight” – a common dual theme of this blog.  Look around, check back for weekly posts – thanks for coming!

************ 

The welcome rain this holiday has filled (and muddied) area waterways.  in case you didn’t know it, quite a few sections of greenway flood temporarily on a regular basis.  Under Atlantic Avenue, between Centennial and S. Saunders, and west of Raleigh Swamp are just a few areas where mud will usually reign until the city bobcats come scraping through.  The re-shoring of the greenway deck off Capital Boulevard is still keeping that steeply edged section closed. Joe Miller wrote an excellent recent update on Greenway projects here.

photos of Crabtree creek levels after recent rains

**********

Blog at WordPress.com.