Pathfinders for Greenways 2021 Newsletter
Dear Greenway Supporters,
It has been a few years since we connected through this newsletter. During that time and despite the pandemic, much has transpired on the Roanoke Valley Greenways. Our Greenway Partners have made several new connections: Barnhardt Bridge connecting the Cities of Salem and Roanoke for the first time; Hinchee Trail providing a connection to Carvin’s Cove; and the Catawba Greenway connecting to the Appalachian Trail at McAfee Knob. We’ve also helped our partners to secure land to complete the greenway section along Walker Foundry, to obtain a critical easement for a future path to Explore Park, and to double the size of the Read Mountain Preserve.
We revamped our website, www.greenways.org, to provide
a more interactive and comprehensive trail directory and to improve usability on mobile devices. We also launched new software called Bloomerang to improve our engagement with our generous and loyal donor and volunteer base. Finally, we completed a critical leadership transition bidding farewell to our Greenway Coordinator for 25 years, the amazing Liz Belcher. She has done so much for the Greenway system that it would take volumes of newsletters to do it all justice! We welcome our new Coordinator, Frank Maguire, to lead us through the next chapters of Greenway expansion.
In our community, we are so fortunate to have a wonderful Greenway system that enables us to safely connect, exercise, and refresh on our natural and paved trails, even during a global pandemic. The expansion of the Greenways would not be possible without each of you. Our tireless volunteers on the MidWeek Crew and the Rock and Roll Crew donate their time to blaze, repair, and maintain trails. Our generous financial donors enable us to support the localities with land and easement acquisitions and close budget gaps to purchase materials and engineering to complete projects. On behalf of the Pathfinders, I sincerely thank you for your past and future support of the Roanoke Valley Greenways!
Brian R. McCahill
Pathfinders for Greenways
Barnhardt Bridge ribbon cutting
Volunteer Accomplishments 2020-2021
Total Volunteer Hours: 6,666.8
Total work days: 254
1/2020-8/2021 Rock-N-Roll Trail at Carvins Cove
2/2020-5/2021 Catawba Greenway
1/2020-2/2020 Comet Trail Improvements at Carvins Cove
5/2020-7/2021 Happy Valley Road Repairs at Carvins Cove
8/2020-9/2020 Buck Trail Relocation at Carvins Cove
5/2021-7/2021 New Laurel Canyon Trail at Carvins Cove
5/2021-8/2021 New Mill Mountain Trail #15
Our Contributions 2020-2021
Barnhardt Bridge – $48,689 for engineering
Glade Creek Greenway – $45,000 for a shelter and right of way access
Read Mountain Preserve – Funded transaction costs for land donation
Eastern Roanoke Greenway – Purchased and donated easement
Western Roanoke Greenway – Purchased and donated easement
Volunteer Of The Year 2021: Turtle Eddins
Mill Mountain Trail 15 ribbon cutting by MidWeek Crew
I am excited to be stepping into the role of Greenways Coordinator and the chance to work with the Pathfinders. When my wife Beth and I started thinking about places we wanted to live, high on our list was an engaged community with a great network of trails and greenways. Roanoke was the first place we visited and once we did, we pretty much stopped looking. So thank you for creating such a beautiful and vibrant place!
I have spent the last 23 years living in Pennsylvania in the heart of the Appalachian ridges and valleys. In PA I returned to an earlier passion for the outdoors, getting involved in local public lands advocacy and becoming a trail volunteer. I served on PA’s recreation advisory committee and as the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA)’s state representative, getting involved in a 32-mile trail project that took seven years to complete. In 2009, I was hired to be IMBA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. I first came to Roanoke in this role, participating in planning meetings for the Blue Ridge Parkway and helping form Roanoke IMBA.
In 2015, I became the Trails Program Director for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), where my work focused primarily on rail-trails as well as managing the PA Water Trail Partnership. In this role, I saw myself as a voice for protecting the places people play. I strongly believe that when people have a connection to the landscape, they have a deeper understanding of the environment and why open spaces are critical to our wellbeing.
I realize I have very big shoes to fill; Liz, the Greenway Commission and the Pathfinders are used as a reference far and wide for how to create a bold vision and work tirelessly to make it a reality. I look forward to working with Pathfinders, including the generous donors who make it possible, and everyone in the community to complete that connected Greenways vision.
Roanoke Valley Greenways Coordinator
A proper send off to Liz for so many years of dedication to expanding our Greenways
Greenway t-shirt quilt gifted to Liz by Roanoke County Parks & Rec.
Hinchee Trail ribbon cutting
You may have heard that I retired on the 25th anniversary of my start as the Greenway Coordinator. Formation of Pathfinders was a big step in the first year. I still get asked, once by a Romanian, how we got the URL “greenways.org”. A board member with foresight did it, long before I had heard of websites.
Pathfinders has been an important part of the growth of the greenway network – volunteerism, fundraising, trail building, marketing, advocacy. I do not remember a single time when I asked the Board for support and they hesitated – always they said “go for it.” Money, time, sweat, Saturdays, meetings. Do it. Purchase of the Hinchee Trail to connect to Carvins Cove was certainly a crowning achievement for Pathfinders and for me, a legacy to the valley.
I am not gone. I will continue to work with the MidWeek Crew and hope to spend more time enjoying the great network we have built. See you there.
Thank you for your 25 years of service!
Catawba Greenway ribbon cutting