The Greeneway Trail in North Augusta, South Carolina

My fantasy of living in a primeval wilderness is not realistic, but many suburban communities are taking action to preserve green space that would otherwise be transmogrified into cement and asphalt. The Greeneway Trail is an example of protected green space that improves the quality of life for local residents. The trail follows an abandoned railroad right of way and leads to a series of ponds created from pits dug for clay used in the nearby manufacture of brick. The trail is shaded by tall trees, and in some places it bisects steep hills. During construction of the rail line, probably shortly before or after the Civil War, railroad workers dug through the hills to make the rail line flat. This makes for a nice flat trail enjoyed by hikers and bikers. The trail is paved, and I was able to push my wife’s wheelchair on it with little effort. The brick factories closed during the Great Depression, and the area became abandoned until the 1990’s when Mayor Tom Greene led the repurposing of the railroad right of way and abandoned brick factories into a green space everybody could enjoy. State funds were used to pay for construction and maintenance of the trail.

The Greeneway Trail in North Augusta, South Carolina is named after the mayor behind the development of this really nice park.
The paved tree-shaded lanes follow what used to be railroad right of ways.
The trail is completely flat because the construction crews building the railways dug through hills to make the track flat for trains. Some parts of the road have steep hills on both sides, making it even shadier. Here are the exposed roots of an old water oak.
Species of trees found along the Greeneway Trail are typical of river bottomland forests. Another common environment on the original river bottomlands were pure stands of bamboo cane known as canebrakes. They formerly were found in pure stands that covered hundreds of square miles. I found a small stand of bamboo cane along the trail.
Brick pond. Until the Great Depression there were brick factories in North Augusta. Workers dug pits for the clay which they used to make bricks. The pits filled with water and became ponds.
A yellow bellied cooter on Brick Pond.

The common species of trees along the Greeneway Trail are those typically found in river bottom land forests including sweetgum, sycamore, water oak, red maple, basswood, river birch, shortleaf pine, and non-native evergreen Carolina cherry (a species native to the coast). Cypress and weeping willow were planted as ornamentals. There are small stands of bamboo cane, and grape vines are abundant on the trees. Pickerel weed grows in the ponds. This area was abandoned during the 1930’s, and most of the mature trees are probably about 90 years old.

The Trail runs parallel to the Savannah River, and during certain times of they year birdwatching must be productive. I saw 6 species in an hour–crows, blue jays, bluebirds, cardinals, mockingbirds, and an unidentified species of warbler. I thought I’d gotten a photo of the warbler, but it was not in the picture when I examined the image on my computer. Small birds don’t cooperate with photographers. On a log in the pond I saw a yellow bellied slider. Reportedly, alligators occur in the ponds. Photos of deer on the Greeneway Trail have been posted on the Friends of the Greeneway Trail Facebook Page.

While we were at Brick Pond, a worker was using a leaf blower to clear the leaves from a picnic area, ruining the quiet natural atmosphere. Leafblowers are 1 of the dumbest contraptions ever invented by mankind. They perform the same function as a rake or broom, but leaf blowers are more expensive, horribly noisy, and belch noxious fumes. Shmucks who use them are polluting the air with noise and poisonous exhaust. Moreover, small engines often break down, so the jerks who use them waste money on the dumb machine itself, fuel, and repairs…all because they are too lazy to use a rake. Rakes never break down. I’m sure my rant against leaf blowers will fall on deaf ears because the assholes that use them must be deaf from the noise they endured from the stupid machines.

Riverview Park is part of the Greeneway, and it is a really nice facility. The park offers a gym, beach volleyball, frisbee golf, real golf, tennis, and a dog park in addition to the trail for hikers and bikers. A boat ramp accesses the Savannah River. The Greeneway is also within walking distance of Antonio’s (a classic Italian restaurant on a corner), a traditional British style pub, Gary’s Hamburgers, and a Waffle House. I’d enjoy living in a neighborhood near the Greeneway.

Beach volleyball anyone?

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2 Responses to “The Greeneway Trail in North Augusta, South Carolina”

  1. Chris Swezey Says:

    Is this abandoned railroad line part of the old Charleston to Hamburg rail line, built ~1833 ?

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