Tour of Vaughn Creek Greenway Saturday

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, September 16, 2010

Area residents are invited on Saturday to tour the proposed greenway at Vaughn Creek in Tryon. The open house will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. at Ziglar Field (near New Market Road) in Tryon.

The event will include a 3/4-mile hike for interested residents to tour the proposed greenway.

Project history

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Editor’s note: The following history of the project was submitted by John Vining of the Tryon Parks Committee, which is sponsoring the open house:

Since October 2005, it has been a goal of the Tryon Parks Committee to acquire a 19-acre parcel of land. The proposed Vaughn Creek Greenway is a central component of an overall plan to connect three town-owned properties with a pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian trail.

Unfortunately the difficult economic times have made finding funds for this project rather challenging. The parks committee has submitted numerous proposals to state programs only to discover the funds are no longer available.

Currently Woodland Park and Ziglar Field are the existing public parks. The proposed Vaughn Creek Greenway will provide the community with a much needed place for young children to ride their bikes. &bsp;

Features of the greenway

The close proximity to Tryons hunting country makes the Vaughn Creek Greenway a natural for use as an equestrian trail. The terrain and elevation of the trail that follows Vaughn Creek enables the proposed route to be perfect for multi-use.

Features include beautiful stone outcrops, a meandering stream and an existing trail bed.

Another unique feature to this property is its easy access to the railroad corridor. Although the rails continue to be privately owned by the railroad, there may be an opportunity in the future to create a rails to trails project. At the present time there is an old logging road that bisects the property, making a connection with the proposed greenway and the rail corridor.

The existing trail

One of the advantages of this property is the fact that there is an existing trail bed in place. In its current condition this route can be used with no additional grading. Currently the Town of Tryon uses this same route as a right-of-way for the towns municipal sewer system.

This trail is critical to the parks committees goal to inter-connect two existing parks, Ziglar Field and Woodland Park. The long-term objective is to connect these two parks, plus a third area with nearly two miles of greenway.

In order to achieve this project, help is needed from many private landowners. Even if this takes years to achieve, this section of the trail can stand alone as a public greenway for citizens to use on a daily basis.

Something special

Vaughn Creek along the proposed greenway route is a special waterway. Unlike many streams in the Piedmont, this portion of Vaughn Creek has significant outcroppings of large stones, reminiscent of a mountain stream. This natural area is only minutes from downtown Tryon.

Since this property has been owned by the same family for more than four decades, this land has been undisturbed and left natural. This area possesses one of the largest populations of trout lilies in Polk County. Trout llilies are abundant all along the greenway route. These special plants can be seen along the creek with other wildflowers such as trillium and bloodroot.

Community help needed

The Tryon Parks Committee is in jeopardy of losing this special piece of property. The Smith family has been especially cooperative in working with the committee. Since 2007 the family has expressed its desire that this land be made into a public greenway.

If you can help generate support for this project or can help financially, please contact one of the parks committee members. The Tryon parks committee includes Mark Byington, Hugh Hursey, Ted Hyder, Rita Landrum, Virginia Lisella, Roy Miller, Gretchen Morris, Callie Smith, Viola Suber, John Vining and Wim Woody. Staff members include Joel Burrell, Justin Hembree and Meg Rogers.