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Monday, July 19, 2010

When Greenways Go Bad

It had been way too long since I walked along the Roanoke River on a Sunday morning with my husband, so even though it was already 90 degrees I dragged him with me. It's probably been about a month since I was last on the Salem Greenway and I couldn't believe how much it's changed, and not all for the good.

The first thing I noticed is how low the Roanoke River is.

Normally the grass in the middle is covered by flowing water. Now it resembles a grassy marshland that would not allow any of the kayaks or canoes navigation.

I was happy to see the blue heron again.

And I was thrilled to see a white egret for the first time.

I tried to zoom in but I couldn't get close enough with the optical so this is the crappy image from the digital zoom...

That's him flying away...

I tried to get closer to it, but where there was once a clear view of the river, it's now covered with six foot weeds.

One of the stark differences between this month and the last time I walked along the Greenway was how unkempt it has become. Besides the fallen trees the weeds are almost impenetrable. The City of Salem had planted trees in the spring. They're in those plastic tubes that are being engulfed by grass. No mowing has been done in quite a while. Many of the trees have emerged from the top of the tubes and look like they're going to be smothered if they're not released soon. What's the point of planting trees if they're going to be forgotten? Naturally the grass around them needs to be mowed.

It looks like no progress has been made at all on the Greenway.

If anything, the Greenway is beginning to look like a dump with broken bottles,

and dog shit everywhere.

Disgusting. So now besides having to dodge bicyclists us walkers have to dodge dog piles. I saw many dog walkers, and wondered how many of them had any sort of plastic bags on them to pick up their dog's waste. I looked at the size of their dogs and tried to gauge which one dumped which load. Maybe Salem needs to place those little boxes along the path that contain plastic bags for the inconsiderate dog owners. I'm sure this little guy carrying a stick bigger than he is wouldn't think about leaving his waste right in the middle of the path. Too cute.

The picnic tables are now chained and grafitti has marred them. I'm really surprised that Salem, who "prides itself" on so many things has allowed this Greenway to go to pot. Amongst all the dirt, debris, overgrown grasses and weeds I found something interesting growing.

Two corn stalks can grow in this mess yet I can't get a decent vegetable from my garden!

Greenways are lovely until they're allowed to deteriorate. This one's not even a year old. C'mon Salem you can do better than this.


  1. When we lived in Maryland we would walk our dog daily and ALWAYS took a plastic grocery bag along to pick up his mess. One day I looked out my front door and a lady walking past just let her dog poop in the middle of the street and did not pick it up. I grabbed a plastic bag from my cupboard and took it to her and told her to please pick up the poop. She did and apologized saying that she just 'forgot' the bag that day. Ya right, I thought to myself. Some people just have no class.

  2. I wouldn't even take my dog on this greenway. Besides the duck, goose, other poo, and broken glass, the grass is too tall. I'm sure it's tick heaven, but that doesn't seem to bother any of the folks I've seen who let their dogs walk through it. I took my dog, once, to the Garst Mill Greenway and after he rolled in the grass there he came home with fleas! Never again...

  3. A friend suggested a good explanation for my own "mystery corn." Birds. They eat corn and then "plant" and fertilize it all at once in random places. Sounds reasonable. But I still blame the failed Obama administration.

  4. July 1 was a new fiscal year for localities. I wonder if Salem ran of funds? I am not familiar with their budget but that seems a likely explanation.