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Greenway FAQs

How do I find the Hominy Creek Greenway?

The Hominy Creek Greenway is in the heart of “walkable” West Asheville. There are two greenway trailheads that connect Sand Hill Road to Shelburne Road. The trail parallels Hominy Creek and runs through a secluded fourteen-acre tract of forest.

Where can I park?

There are two public parking areas, one at each end of the greenway. There is a parking area at Sand Hill Road; and a parking area at Shelburne Road near the intersection of Hominy Creek Road near the old National Guard Armory. Each gravel parking area is distinguished by a trailhead kiosk with a map of the trail.

Are the Hominy Creek Greenway and Hominy Creek Park the same places?

No, they are different parks with similar names. The Hominy Creek Greenway is a city park and the Hominy Creek Park is operated by Buncombe County. Hominy Creek Park is located roughly one mile downstream of Hominy Creek Greenway at the confluence of Hominy Creek and the French Broad River.

How long is the greenway?

The ⅔ mile linear trail is situated on fourteen acres of public land. The trail is a dirt path that is relatively level.

Will the greenway trail ever be paved?

A master plan has been developed for the greenway. Currently, there is no timeline to improve the greenway trail. Since the trail is public, it is possible it will be paved to increase accessibility and to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Are there plans to connect the Hominy Creek Greenway with other public greenways?

Yes. The greenway will one day be part of a county wide trail system that will be known as the Buncombe Turnpike Trail Network spearhead by the Friends of Connect Buncombe. A feasibility study to connect the greenway to the Bent Creek neighborhood is underway and there are a variety of other community and public greenway projects being developed throughout the county.

Is it safe to swim in the creek?

You should swim at your own risk. The Hominy Creek watershed drains roughly 80 square miles of the county. The watershed includes industry, roads, and agriculture. The water quality of Hominy Creek is impacted by many dynamic variables that are difficult to detect and not measured on a regular basis.

Why are there sewer caps along the greenway?

The Metropolitan Sewage District of Buncombe County maintains a sewer line that runs underneath the greenway.

Are dogs allowed on the greenway?

Dogs are welcome on the greenway. A city ordinance requires that all pets be kept on a leash. Dog owners are encouraged to follow this ordinance in order to respect neighbors, the environment, and other pets and users of the greenway.

Who is in charge of the greenway?

The fourteen acres that encompass the greenway was purchased in 2011 by the city of Asheville with financial support from Buncombe County and donations from a variety of organizations and private citizens. The Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway, Inc. (FOHCG, Inc.) serve as stewards of the HCG. The FOHCG, Inc. is a North Carolina non-profit corporation that is made up of a group of volunteers dedicated to managing the parkland. The FOHCG Inc. has a formal partnership agreement with the city of Asheville.

How can I help support the greenway?

Please join our effort: become a member, participate in volunteer workdays and/or attend our bi-monthly Board of Trustees meetings.

My question has not been answered here. Can I speak to someone instead?

Of course. Please contact FOHCG, Inc. Board of Trustees chairman, Jack Igelman, using the email icon on our home page.

Volunteers clearing invasive plant species using mechanical methods

Mechanical Clearing Underway

Quick update on the areas being mechanically cleared. Asheville GreenWorks is currently removing overgrown invasive plants to save our precious trees and create a wonderful place to relax. Currently being removed: privet, bittersweet, honeysuckle and the devil himself… multiflora rose. Once these specific plants are removed, we will seed with native grasses and will continue to mow these newly opened areas to beat back the invasive plants.

These areas will then become new planting areas for native trees, edible plants and pollinator meadows. Some of these areas will be perfect for beach blankets, picnics, pick-up soccer games, sunbathing, yoga and much-needed relaxation.

Public work days will be posted on the kiosks or you can email volunteer@ashevillegreenworks.org if you’re inclined to help out.

Mountain XPress Credits Brotherhug

From the Mountain Xpress, 11/5/2013

Walk any day along the Hominy Creek Greenway (not to be confused with Hominy Creek River Park) and you’ll pass scores of walkers, nature lovers, runners and families. To me, this represents quite an achievement. For years, West Asheville residents have walked and jogged the narrow path cleared by the Metropolitan Sewerage District between Sand Hill Road and Shelburne Road beside Hominy Creek, but the property only recently entered the public domain.

The lion’s share of the credit belongs to Doug “Brotherhug” Barlow, who led the effort to protect the space after moving here from Atlanta in 2006. “It’s a magical place,” he says. “The first time I saw the land, I immediately felt it needed to be public space.”

Plants Found on Hominy Creek Greenway

This list has been compiled from several people’s observations. If you find any errors or omissions, please leave a comment.

Herbaceous

Patch of May Apples along the trail
May Apples growing across the trail

Alumroot, Heuchera
Aster, Aster spp.
Beard Tongue, Penstemon
Bedstraws or Cleavers, Galium aparine
Beggarticks
, Bidens laevis
Bittercress, Barbarea vulgaris
Blood Root, Sanguinaria canadensis
Boneset, Eupatorium
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides
Fire Pink, Silene virginica
Fleabane, Erigeron strigosis
Golden Ragwort, Senecio aureus
Goldenrod, Solidago spp
Horsetail, Equisetum arvense
Indian Strawberry, Potentilla indica
Ironweed, Vernonia noveboracensis
Jack In The Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
Jewelweed (Yellow), Impatiens pallida
Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum
Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum
Native Knotweed, Polygonum
Phlox, Phlox carolina
Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans
Putty Root Orchid, Aplectrum hyemale
Red Morning Glory, Ipomoea coccinea
Rue Anemone Thalictrum thalictroides or False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum*
Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum
Trillium
Venus’ Looking Glass, Triodanis perfoliata
Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum
Wild Hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens
Wild Peppergrass (Smartweed?)
Wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia
Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata

*Undetermined indentification

Shrubs

Elderberry, Sambucus sp.
Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia
Rhododendron, Rhododendron sp.
Sweet Shrub, Caliycanthus floridus

 Invasive Plants along Hominy Creek

Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed

Chinese Privet, ligustrum sinense
English Ivy, Hedera helix
Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata
Japanese Knotweed,  Polygonum cuspidatum
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica
Japanese Stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum
Chinese silvergrass, Miscanthus sinensis
Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus
Periwinkle, Vinca minor
Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia
Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
Winged Euonymus (Burning Bush), Euonymus alatus

Invasive Plants

On a global basis…the two great destroyers of biodiversity are, first habitat destruction and, second, invasion by exotic species” – E.O. Wilson

Invasive Scavenger Hunt card for Hominy Creek Greenway

Invasive Scavenger Hunt Card

The biggest challenge we face in restoring the park land to a natural state is removing the many invasive plants and restoring native plants in their place. 120 years of neglect allowed the exotic species planted in neighboring gardens and other areas to naturalize in this area, displacing the native species.

We face a long term challenge, most likely ten years or so to clear most the areas. The Japanese knotweed along the banks is perhaps the most difficult plant we face as it has invaded the banks of most the waterways in our area. It spreads easily and rapidly.

See the list of invasives found along Hominy Creek Greenway.

Resources about invasive plants

Online Resources
RiverLink: Guide to Control Methods for 10 Common Western North Carolina Riparian Weeds

WNC Alliance: Pocket “Do Not Buy” list of Invasive Exotic Plants

FOHCG: Invasive Species Scavenger Hunt 

U.S. Forest Service Publications
A field guide for the identification of invasive plants in southern forests*
A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests*
   *available in print (free) from Asheville Greenworks

Greenways Support Schools & Services

Investing in greenways supports our schools and social services, as tax dollars should. The Dr. John Wilson Community Garden is just a small example of how greenways across Buncombe County can support these essential elements in our neighborhoods. The Town of Black Mountain established the Garden Greenway in 2011 with grant funding from multiple sources, public and private.

The Garden Greenway provides a direct link to schools and social services by:

Providing affordable access to more than 70 families to grow vegetables for themselves
Donating 4,000 pounds of fresh produce to families in need
Supporting health and nutrition education for every first and fourth grader in Black Mountain through field trips.
Did you know you can grow eight months of food for about $35? Seeds can be purchased with food stamps and our gardeners are able to grow eight months of food for the cost to rent a garden plot, $35. A number of our gardeners walk or bike to the garden to tend their plots.

I know in one instance, biking is her only form of transportation. There are no bike lanes or sidewalks that currently link the garden to downtown. Greenways connect the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden to downtown Black Mountain.

Childhood obesity and diabetes are increasing at incredible rates. I cannot think of a more direct social service to target these two epidemics among our school children than greenways and gardens. The Community Garden annually hosts every Black Mountain public school first and fourth grader on a field trip, where they learn about how fruits and vegetables are grown and how healthy food can keep their bodies healthy. With the Garden Greenway now available, these students include a walk on the greenway as part of their field trip, learning about exercise and wellness.

The greenway has increased exposure to the Community Garden, which has increased our access to funding. Last year we received a $3,000 grant to fund the installation of an orchard on a site opened up by the construction of the greenway. Planting fruit and nut trees increase our ability to provide access to fresh produce in our community.

As the mother of three children, the greenway means a lot to me. While I work, my children bike, ride scooters, draw with chalk and play games, some days long after the sun has gone down and the bats have come out. Before the greenway, dragging my children to work was a chore. Now they often want to go, even when I don’t need to.

Because our house is near the Garden Greenway, we don’t even need to use the car to go to work or play. For me, all of these things make calling Black Mountain home that much sweeter.

Black Mountain News, Jul. 10, 2012
Written by Diana Schmitt McCall, Guest Columnist

Economic Impact of Trails

This article is from “Carolina Thread Trail“
Little Sugar Creek Greenway A number of economic impact studies based on data and reasonable forecasting techniques indicate that connected bicycle/pedestrian facilities (like trails and greenways) offer a significant return on investment through property value increases, tourism, business investment, alternative transportation benefits and health benefits.

A 2011 cost/benefit study by Alta Planning and Design evaluated the completion of a multipurpose trail linking the City of Davidson and Cabarrus County (from the Cabarrus County line to downtown Charlotte). The study resulted in an internal return on investment of 16.21%, not including the quantification of recreational benefits. A 2007 study by Econsult, Inc. and Greenways, Inc. forecasting the economic benefit of the Carolina Thread Trail indicated that
increased tourism from a completed regional network would generate an estimated $3-$6 million in incremental state and local tax revenue per year.

Multiple studies indicate that property values for homes and businesses near trails are greater – with increases ranging from between 4% and 20% – when compared to properties not along trails. This is not surprising in light of the outcome of a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors that cited walking and biking trails as the #1 amenity desired by homebuyers.

While these studies are compelling, sometimes the most convincing evidence of the economic impact of an infrastructure investment can be accessed from talking to representatives from businesses that are directly
benefitting.

Furman University recently released an in-depth study of the health and economic impacts of the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail. The study provides a baseline for the impact of the 17.5 mile multi-use trail connecting Greenville to Travelers Rest, SC. For a segment of the study, interviews were conducted with nine managers or owners of retail businesses abutting or within 250 yards of the trail. Data from that study includes the following:

Most of the businesses reported increases in sales/revenue ranging from 30% to as high as 85% since the trail was completed.
One business decided to open as a result of the trail being built.
One business reported changing locations to a site on the trail and observed a 30% increase in sales.
One business reported that 75% of Saturday business and 40% of business during the week related to trail use.
These findings, when combined with general observations about how economic activity has been enhanced along stretches of the Carolina Thread Trail– like the Metropolitan stretch of Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte and the Peidmont Medical Center Trail in Rock Hill – are indications of how a connected regional trail network would generate large near-term economic returns. The case becomes even more compelling when hospitals, business centers, schools, retail and residential hubs are connected via multi use trails.

Along The Thread, we see and hear the momentum and excitement from local governments and community residents about trails opening in their neighborhoods and communities. We know all trails will help our communities be better places to live and work, while creating new economic activity for our communities for years to come.