The Charlotte Greenways- Experiencing Nature in the Heart of the City
By Andrew Jones- Andrew is a guest blogger writing from his home in South Charlotte.
down a wide, well-maintained, dirt trail that winds through lush forest. You can ride for 10, 20, or even 30 miles, and never have your trip interrupted by automobile traffic. And yet, for the whole time, you are never more than a few minutes from civilization. This is what is in store for Charlotte in the near future.
The Mecklenburg County Greenway System is already one of the jewels in the Queen City crown. All over Charlotte, there are miles and miles of trails, boardwalks, and paved pathways that provide a natural habitat for local wildlife- and solitude for anyone looking to escape the constant din of the city.
The Greenways stretch from Pineville, near the South Carolina border, through the center of Uptown, the University Area, and almost to Lake Norman.
The Greenways are easy to miss if you dont know where to look so carefully have these refuges been woven into the surrounding urban environment that. Today, there are more than 33 miles of trails in 11 separate parks. Plans are in the works to open more than half a dozen new greenways, as well. Moreover, many of these parks will eventually be linked together, making it possible to hike, jog, or ride your bicycle uninterrupted through the whole system, from one end of town to the other.
Each Greenway has its own distinct features and atmosphere; some that are primarily woodsy, and others that feature open meadows, wetlands, or dramatic rock outcroppings. All areas are full of plant and animal life, including some species that are rarely seen so close to a major city. For example, the McAlpine Creek Greenway is home to beavers, otters and minks, while the Sugar Creek Greenway provides a habitat for Gulf Coast soft-shell turtles. A huge variety of birds also call the greenways home. Feel free to bring along your binoculars or a camera, to get a better look at the action.
The Charlotte greenways are open from dawn till dusk, seven days a week, all year round. Each park is situated so that it directly borders residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, and major city landmarks. Many subdivisions have direct access trails into the system. All areas are open to foot, bicycle, and wheelchair traffic, as well as to skaters and skateboarders. Just keep in mind that some areas can be quite muddy after a hard rain.
Dogs are welcome, as long as they are leashed, and their owners pick up after them. Many parks feature picnic areas, playgrounds, and free parking.
The Greenways are cared for and maintained by the Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Department. For more information, complete with detailed maps, visit Mecklenburg County Greenways . Two easy access points are off Highway 51 across from McMullen Creek Parkway (McMullen Creek Greenway), and at the corner of Davidson Street and Parkwood Avenue adjacent to the YWCA & Belmont Center (Little Sugar Creek Greenway).
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