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Check out Pathfinders For Greenways Newsletter under ‘News And Events’

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News and Events

News and Events

November 17th, 2021

Repaving completed on eastern end of Roanoke River Greenway.

October 22nd, 2021

The City of Roanoke’s Parks and Recreation Department has completed the repaving of the Roanoke River Greenway from the the Bridge at Bennington Road to the Shell Station. This project was necessitated by the growth of invasive trees along the greenways, which had buckled the pavement. The Pathfinders’ Midweek Crew helped city staff remove the invasives over the course of several weeks, and the paving was completed ahead of schedule.

Catawba Greenway now open

October 4th, 2021

Long in the making, the Catawba Greenway was formally unveiled on the last day of September. Connecting Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center with the Appalachian Trail near McAfee Knob, the new trail creates a little over a 5 mile-loop for hikers who wish to access the AT without worrying about parking on the top of 311.

The trail itself utilizes parts of the original RT 311 roadbed, before transitioning onto purpose-built trail completed by the Pathfinders for Greenways Midweek Crew. The crew’s work includes impressive stone tread and several stair sections that will help hikers ascend the elevation changes. The trail also showcases VA Tech’s agricultural research facility, from American chestnut plantings to riparian buffer crop studies. The first six-tenths of a mile is intended to be a more accessible trail and includes a bridge across the Catawba Creek and a shelter complete with accessible picnic tables.

The Catawba Greenway Trailhead is located at 5061 Catawba Creek Road. Please consider using this access area for the AT if you arrive at the top of 311 and see that the parking area is full.  The surfaced lot will hold 25 vehicles, but there is optional overflow parking as well. Additionally, another dozen or so parking spots are available at the Roanoke County Catawba Community Center, located at 4965 Catawba Creek Rd.

For a better sense of the trail, the scenery you’ll encounter and the partnerships it took to bring the trail to life, check out this video from the ribbon cutting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8l282vCaDs

If you plan your trip for a Thursday, be sure to visit the Catawba Farmers Market, open May through October. More details can be found at Catawbafarmersmarket.com

Roanoke River Greenway Repaving!

October 4th, 2021

If you have traveled on the Roanoke River Greenway near the Bennington Rd Trailhead, you have undoubtedly noticed the pavement has risen up in several sections, making for a jarring, possibly dangerous surface. These pavement heaves are caused by the adjacent invasive trees, whose roots have grown under the pavement in search of water.

Beginning the week of October 4th, Roanoke City’s Parks and Recreation department will begin to tackle this issue head on. The offending trees are slated to be removed, replaced by new plantings that shouldn’t create this headache in the future. Once the tree removal is completed, a stretch of the greenway will be repaved, greatly improving the experience for all users.

The work will take several weeks, so in the meantime the trail will be closed (between Bennington Rd Trailhead and the Shell station) until the work is complete. Consider exploring another section of the greenway and look forward to a smooth trail soon!

For more information and updates, please check the Roanoke City Parks and Recreation Blog.

Glade Creek Greenway Phase II Ribbon Cutting & Arbor Day 2021 Celebration

May 20th, 2021

Roanoke Valley Greenway Coordinator Announces Retirement

May 13th, 2021

Roanoke, VA, May 13, 2021 – Liz Belcher will retire in August as the Roanoke Valley Greenway Coordinator after 25 years. Liz began working as coordinator in 1996 when the Greenway Steering Committee was a fledgling organization at the Fifth Planning District Commission. The regional Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission was formally established in 1997 by the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, City of Salem, and Town of Vinton. Botetourt County joined in 2016. Liz has been the only employee of the Commission, coordinating with the local governments to build a greenway network.

During Liz’s time with the Commission, the greenway network has grown to include over four hundred miles of off-road greenways and trails, with the 1996 Greenway Plan updated twice (2007 and 2018) to reflect the expanded vision for the region. The Roanoke River Greenway, running west to east through the valley, is the backbone of the network, with north-south routes connecting to the public lands encircling the valley. Mason Creek, Lick Run, Tinker Creek, Garden City, Glade Creek, Wolf Creek, and Mill Mountain Greenways provide the core of the north-south routes, connecting to the Blue Ridge Parkway, National Forests, Carvins Cove, Read Mountain, Appalachian Trail, and state preserves. Liz has been closely involved in protection of these public lands through conservation easements on over 13,000 acres with Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Blue Ridge Land Conservancy. She also helped organize the purchase and donation of lands for Read Mountain Preserve and Hinchee Park.

In 1999 the Greenway Commission and local governments hosted the first Governor’s Conference on Greenways and Trails. That Conference grew into a biannual event and then later into a state-led effort to expand greenway and trail networks statewide and capitalize on the economic impacts of outdoor recreation. In the Roanoke area, Roanoke Outside was born as part of the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s efforts to build an economy that valued our natural resource assets and to attract businesses, employees, and economic development to a bikeable/walkable community with great outdoor recreation opportunities. Greenways have been the foundational infrastructure for that vision and repeatedly appear in surveys and public input as one of the best things the region has ever done. 

Liz has served on numerous boards and organizations, including the Roanoke Valley Urban Forestry Council, Transportation Technical Committee of the Transportation Planning Organization, State Trails Advisory Committee, Virginia Outdoors Plan Advisory Committee, Virginia Trails Alliance, Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, Western Virginia Land Trust, and Blueway Committee. She has been a speaker for many civic organizations, an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, and an instructor at Roanoke College and Hollins University. In addition to the greenway plans, she led development of the first local trail plans for Carvins Cove, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Green Hill Park, and Mill Mountain.

Frank Simms, Chair of the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission, said that Liz “has been the face of greenways for the region and, although she is often given credit for their existence, this has been a community effort with the Greenway Commission, localities, staff, volunteers, and many, many supporters providing the impetus and expertise to make it happen. We all get great joy from seeing so many people from all walks of life using the greenways, loving the river and streams, and making greenways an integral part of their life and their family. Thanks to Liz Belcher and many partners, the Roanoke Valley Greenway system has become a reality.”

With the announcement of Liz’s retirement, the Greenway Commission will begin the search for a new Coordinator. Questions can be directed to Frank Simms at fmsimms51@gmail.com. For further information, see www.greenways.org

New Striping on Roanoke River Greenway

December 30th, 2020

There is a new yellow center line on the most heavily used sections of Roanoke River Greenway, from Memorial Avenue to Piedmont Park. Remember: travel on the right, pass on the left. Notify those in front of you when you need to pass.

Yellow striping helps users stay on their side of the greenway.

Key property acquired for Roanoke River Greenway segment

December 22nd, 2020

Roanoke City Council approved on December 21, 2020 the acquisition of right-of-way across Walker Foundry for the Roanoke River Greenway. This will allow the City to move forward on “bridging the gap”, connecting the greenway at Bridge Street to the greenway near the Materials Yard off Aerial Way. Construction is expected to begin in about six months.

The City is also moving forward with construction of a bridge across Barnhardt Creek to connect to Roanoke River Greenway behind Cook Drive in Salem. Construction of that link will begin in January 2021.

AEP Foundation Awards $30,000 for a New Roanoke Valley Greenways Website

August 17th, 2020
AEP Greenways Award
AEP Foundation Awards Grant at Greenway Commission Meeting, December 2019

(December 4, 2019) A new Roanoke Valley Greenways (RVG) website is coming soon thanks to a grant from the American Electric Power Foundation. At the December 4th Joint Meeting of the Greenway Commission and Pathfinders for Greenways, Appalachian Power presented a check on behalf of the AEP Foundation for $30,000 to “power” the development of a sleek, modern website that will feature robust interactive maps.

This redesign of www.greenways.org is intended to attract new users to regional greenways and help longtime users discover new greenways and trailheads. The project, scheduled to go live in the spring of 2020, requires significant funding to update maps and replace an existing site that has become outdated. The new site will share important information about the greenway network like route characteristics and changes, nearby amenities and volunteer opportunities.

Appalachian Power is passionate about being involved in the communities where their employees work and live. The AEP Foundation, funded by AEP and its utility operating units, including Appalachian Power, provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP. Information about AEP’s community impact is available at www.aep.com/community.

“Our greenways are a tremendous asset to our community,” said Larry Jackson, Appalachian Power external affairs director. “We’re grateful to have this opportunity to partner with the Roanoke Valley Greenways to make more people aware of our community’s network of greenways and trails.”

Appalachian Power in Virginia has a long history of environmental stewardship and of supporting nonprofits in the Roanoke region. This has been exemplified in the past by race and event sponsorships and by contributions to projects such as development of the Tinker Creek canoe and kayak launch on the Roanoke River in Vinton.