Ecological Restoration Plan for Hominy Creek Greenway

Much of the Hominy Creek Greenway property’s vegetative community is dominated by non-native invasive species (NNIS). Species such as multiflora rose, Chinese privet, Japanese knotweed, English ivy and many others have outcompeted native species, taking over much of the herbaceous and shrub layers and threatening native tree health via climbing vines. A vegetative community dominated by NNIS greatly reduces ecological value and threatens the abundance and diversity of native pollinators and wildlife.

In an effort to combat the Greenway’s NNIS problem and begin restoring a native plant community, the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway (FOHCG) Board of Trustees is working with EcoForesters (EF), a local non-profit professional forestry organization, to chemically treat NNIS on a large scale. While FOHCG board members and volunteers have worked for years to keep NNIS at bay, hand-pulling and cutting can only go so far in addressing such a large-scale issue. By incorporating chemical treatment via foliar spray, cut stump, and other techniques, FOHCG and EF can effectively treat vast portions of the greenway that would not be feasible or have such lasting results otherwise.

The current focal area of the Greenway for native reforestation is at the Sand Hill Road end of the trail – both the trailside portions leading from the trailhead to just past the picnic tables and the portion on the other side of Buttermilk Creek. These areas were bush hogged in late summer of 2023 and chemically treated by EF and FOHCG in early September. Additional treatment may take place prior to the dormant season of late October. The next step is to replant the treated areas with native vegetation. Native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species will be planted in the fall of 2023 and/or the spring of 2024. Expertise on topics such as species selection, planting density, and follow-up management will be provided by community volunteer members with professional background in native plant composition and care. Plants will be sourced from Greenworks and other local nurseries and growers.

As the project progresses, the aim to is to also address Buttermilk Creek. In its current state, the creek is extremely downcut and the stream banks are severely eroded and even undercut in certain locations. These conditions contribute to sedimentation in downstream waters (Hominy Creek and the French Broad River), a detriment to water quality, and result in unstable and treacherous stream-side terrain. To address these issues, FOHCG will work with EF to treat NNIS growing in and adjacent to the stream and with Wildlands Engineering to regrade the stream banks to restore a level of stability to the system by reducing erosive forces of high velocity flows. Once NNIS and stream bank grading have occurred, native riparian vegetation will be planted to increase bank stability, reduce erosion during high flow events, and improve the overall stream and stream-side habitat quality.

By restoring native vegetation and improving stream habitat and water quality, native pollinators and other wildlife species will benefit. Monarch butterflies, migratory birds, rare freshwater mussels, imperiled bats, and many other taxa inhabit the greater areas of the Greenway, Hominy Creek, and the French Broad River downstream. With the ever-increasing threats to wildlife from habitat loss and degradation, opportunities to restore habitat play an important role in ensuring that species have access to the resources needed for supporting their life stages.

FOHCG is excited to be embarking on these ecological restoration efforts – a chance to greatly improve the biological integrity to a beloved area for the benefit of community members and native flora and fauna alike. The support of partners, donors, and volunteer members makes this undertaking possible!

A great work day on the greenway

We had a stellar turnout on the greenway on February 18, 2017 to continue our plan to remove and replace invasive plants. About 15 volunteers helped remove tangles of multiflora rose and other plants from an area adjacent to the new storage shed. The removal opened up a small portion of an old stone wall and may help improve the health of a couple of trees weighed down by the invasive plants.

This year, the FOHCG will be conducting regular monthly workdays. More dates to be named soon.

Thanks to all who helped out and a special thanks to FOHCG trustee Renee Fortner for her work coordinating the workday.

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 if you’re inclined to help out.

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.


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
, 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
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


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

Greenway Land Links Neighborhoods to Carrier Park

Asheville Citizen-Times, Feb. 14, 2011  

Asheville has 4.5 miles of developed greenways and is working toward a 15-mile system.
Size: 12 acres
Possible length of greenway: 2/3 of a mile
Connections: To the north, Sand Hill Road at the corner of Narbeth Road. To the south, the intersection of Hominy Creek and Shelburne Roads.

ASHEVILLE — For an urban neighborhood, Doug Barlow found a rare thing when he moved to his West Asheville home four years ago.

Written by Joel Burgess

Just across Sand Hill Road, a narrow, wooded stretch of property running along Hominy Creek offered him a scenic trek to Carrier Park, the city’s most popular recreation spot.

“I walked down here, and I saw that beautiful creek and the woods and thought this needs to be a greenway,” Barlow said.

Taking a cue from land preservation he had done in Atlanta, the 64-year-old Barlow and his neighbors tried to convince government officials and others to buy the 12 acres from private owners

With a $300,000 price tag, the effort failed to win City Council approval in 2007. But thanks to years of work by volunteers and a drop in property values, Asheville has bought the land $139,000.

The move preserves a historic and unusual piece of property, supporters say, and serves as another link for the area’s growing greenway system.

City and Buncombe County taxpayers each paid $55,756. Private donors gave $27,878. Barlow himself chipped in $500, plus around $2,000 that wasn’t counted, he said, for the original survey and other costs over the four years.

A major fear until recently was that someone interested in developing the land would outbid the city, Barlow said.

“I’ve been holding my breath for so long on this thing,” he said.

Those involved with the property soon learned its historic nature. Stone ruins show the spot of a dam built by Edwin Carrier, for whom the park is named.

An investor from Pennsylvania, Carrier dammed the creek to provide power to his resort at Sulphur Springs near what is now Malvern Hills.

It also powered a street car that went to a racetrack near the site of the current park and into the city.

The dam eventually failed and Carrier went bankrupt. The land, largely in floodplain, went to other owners. A sewer line was built along it, and over the years, a few walkers and cyclists turned it into a regular route.


Residents cited greenways in a city survey as their biggest priority when it comes to parks and recreation. But land suitable for the linear parks can be hard to come by.

The Hominy Creek land holds added value in that it provides an easily traveled connection from central West Asheville to other greenways.

From Haywood Road, walkers and cyclists can go down Sand Hill, turn into the property and after 2/3 of a mile come out at Hominy Creek Road.

The road ends at Hominy Creek Park and connects to the existing Hominy Creek Greenway that runs to Carrier Park.

The greenway from Carrier goes on to the French Broad River Park and Dog Park. Crossing the French Broad River from the park is a bike lane that runs along Lyman Street to the River Arts District.

Other routes are often busy with cars or have steep hills, said Charlie Clogston, treasurer for the nonprofit Blue Ridge Bicycle Club

“This is a good place for families to ride away from cars,” Clogston said.

The club has made health a major focus and wants to encourage cycling among children, especially those at risk of obesity.

For that reason, the Buncombe-based group was the lead agency in raising private funds and got a deed restriction for the property specifying that it should always be a public park.

It will likely be years until the city will be able to pay for paving and other improvements, meanwhile people will likely continue to blaze their own path, said Marc Hunt, chairman of the Asheville Greenway Commission

As for the bigger picture, Hunt said the Hominy Creek property could eventually link a greenway system to the Buncombe County Sports Park in Candler and on into Enka.

“It could be a pretty remarkable connection,” he said.

Environmental learning

Along with being a corridor for commuters and others, the property is an unusual piece of forest in the city, Barlow said.

Barlow said he hopes schools will take advantage of its proximity to teach students about plants and animals.

Along with a wide range of trees — including poplars, locusts and black walnuts, people have spotted pileated woodpeckers, hawks, foxes and deer.

Barlow said he’s run across turkeys and believes there’s a coyote den nearby.

“I’ve seen all sorts of critters down there,” he said.