The location I chose for my project is part of the French Broad River Greenway in Asheville, North Carolina. My section begins at the RiverLink Karen Cragnolin Park and ends just after the Amboy Road bridge. It travels along the French Broad River. Above is the map of the area, below is a picture of the map with a pink line of the specific stretch.
This stretch of the Greenway is not the prettiest stretch. It sits just above the water and often floods with rain. It is consistently muddy and holds water. The trees and brush between it and the river are messy and dipping into the flow of water. Above the path is a well travelled road. Above the road are businesses and homes. The homes are new and had accompanying destruction and construction that resulted in more sediment and runoff. There are power lines overhead and sewer pipes beneath. There are quite a few manholes that sit above ground that are old and dilapidated. The last third of the path, near to the bridge, turns from asphalt to dirt in a small woodsy area. This section is also consistently muddy and smelly and continues up under the bridge. There is trash on the ground. There may or may not be a homeless person’s mattress tucked up under the place where the bridge connects with the road. The river itself is wide, cold looking, murky, and green-brown. It is not a happy river.
Earlier this year, my sister and I rode our bikes a long way through this stretch of the greenway and much further up the newer section along Lyman Street. We passed through this section in the morning and returned to it in the afternoon. We were accustomed to it smelling, often of the sewer or muck, but that afternoon, it was worse. We approached and the dirt path was covered in gushing water coming from further up the path and spraying out of the sewer manholes. It was sewer water gushing out onto the path and straight into the French Broad River. We watched as tubers floated by. My sister then called the Municipal Waste department to alert them to this health hazard and we took a different path back to the car. We walked our bikes along the road up above the path and saw that the sewer water was flowing out of not one or two sewer holes, but probably four or five. We were disgusted and heartbroken for the river and land. The manholes have since been fixed. I do not think the pollution was cleaned up.
I chose this stretch to do my journal on because I enjoy walking here and it has history. It stands out from the other stretches because it needs the most help. It needs human intervention because of human destruction. The French Broad River is a beautiful river that is used for plentiful tourism and human enjoyment, but it is hurting. It is dirty. It needs more love; love that actually involves help, not neglect. I hope to capture some of the beauty that is still there in this blog, hidden behind the human chaos that surrounds it.