Letter writer: Support Beaucatcher Greenway

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am writing with enthusiasm about the Beaucatcher Greenway and park, which will provide residents access to a beautiful and primarily natural forest right in the middle of our great city. This greenway, along with the completion of the French Broad River and Town Branch greenways, will make a difference for many people because they will complete a large section of the core greenway network in Asheville. Having a connected system of greenways makes them accessible to many people and useful for both transportation and recreation.

The Beaucatcher Greenway has been a part of Asheville’s plans since John Nolen’s 1922 plan, which envisioned an “emerald necklace” of parks surrounding the core of the city. More recently, the greenway was identified as a high priority in Asheville’s Greenways Master Plan, adopted in 2009 and updated in 2013. This was after the larger community raised private funds to preserve Helen’s Bridge in 1998, and the city, county, Trust for Public Land, Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and numerous private donors partnered to purchase the 30-plus acres for a park and greenway in 2007. If they had not acted on this tremendous opportunity, the owner was ready to sell to developers, and the forest would not be a public amenity in perpetuity and may have been destroyed.

The park and greenway need immediate attention to address erosion, stormwater drainage issues and damaged trees. If nothing is done, more trees will fall on their own (many have fallen already), and the path will be unsafe to walk on.

Beaucatcher Greenway provides a unique vantage point, with beautiful views of downtown and the central city area with the surrounding mountains, and the plans protect its use and the views from downtown and surrounding neighborhoods forever. This is a great project that the city needs to complete.

 — Linda Giltz


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