This spring the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway will launch a project to improve eight sections of the greenway path impacted by rainfall and erosion. The project area will include sections of trail from the Shelburne Road trailhead to portions of the trail near the “beach”.
The objective of the trail project is to redesign, improve, and reroute sections of trail to create a sustainable pathway that reduces erosion and improves the trail user experience.
The project is funded by a grant from Buncombe County Recreational Services and funds from members and donors of the Friends of Hominy Creek Greenway. Wildlands Engineering, Inc. is providing an in-kind donation to design and manage the project. The City of Asheville, Asheville GreenWorks, and Asheville on Bikes will provide guidance and resources.
The estimated cost of the project is $25,000.
Construction will begin in April 2021 and continue throughout the summer.
Over the last several years, heavy rainfall, gravity and increased traffic on the greenway has accelerated erosion. 2020 was Asheville’s fourth wettest on record. As a result, frequent wet and muddy trail conditions have blocked access and a network of unsustainable trails has formed.
Runoff from higher elevations tends to settle on sections of the trail. An increase in the volume of users over time causes the wet trail surface to pack and settle. The impact forms ruts on the trail that catch and hold water during rains. Rather than flowing across the trail, water rushes down the pathway. Over time, water channeling down the trail gains velocity and energy, washing away more soil and cutting deeper into the trail. The combination of forces compounds the rate of erosion. As trail conditions degrade, water is held on the path longer. The results are impassable sections of trail following heavy rainfall or periods of sustained precipitation.
The Friends of Hominy Creek, in collaboration with Wildlands Engineering, has developed a plan that will improve sections of the trail, address drainage, and reroute sections of trail. FOHCG volunteer and civil engineer, Jake McLean of Wildlands Engineering, is the lead designer. In addition to Jake’s personal time, Wildlands Engineering is donating time and equipment to design and supervise construction.
The plan involves raising the trail in several areas; creating swales, levies, and other elements to capture, store and redirect rainfall and runoff. A portion of the project will re-slope the access road at the Shelburne trailhead and redirect runoff from the roadway. Several sections of the trail will also be resurfaced.
For more information about the project or concerns, contact former FOHCG president Jack Igelman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org