One of the really nice things about my stretch of the French Broad River Greenway is that it is often populated with people enjoying it. I have seen people slack-lining there; slack-lining is walking on a line tied between two trees. People also lie out in the grass and in hammocks. Lots of people walk, jog, roller-skate, and bike along the path. There are many dogs accompanying their humans. People fish on the river as well. Occasionally, people will swim or put their feet in the water. It is heavily enjoyed, especially in the summer.
Yesterday evening, I walked the stretch and saw many other people enjoying the area as well. One man was blowing huge bubbles. It was a really nice sunny evening. I noticed that there were few non-human animals around or at least visible. I saw a few Carolina Chickadees, which I particularly like. They are such cute little round birds with a black head.
This stretch of the greenway has a strong feeling of human to it. It is not like hiking in the woods where animals are encountered much more. It is also unlike a heavily maintained park with man made fountains. It has a feeling of being old and used. It is reasonably clean and kept since it is very visible and used, but it is not impressive. With rain, there is a lot of mud. The plants are wild and made up of mostly old and gnarly trees. There is also quite a bit of graffiti on the signs, under the bridge, and on the sewer manholes. Most of the man made stuff, like the signs, path, parking areas, bridge, manholes, and benches feel old and industrial. They feel structurally intact but also tired. The bridge is quite old and has parts on it that make loud clattering noises when cars cross.
My section of the greenway has a feeling of being old, unkept, and industrial. It has a feeling of nostalgia and wonder about what and who all has been there before. It feels old, like it needs to be redone and cleaned up, but does it really? If it gets “cleaned up” and redone, then it will lose its history and create a whole lot more erosion from the construction. It has a level of familiarity to it now that I would not want to see taken away if it were redone. I think there are parts of it that could be improved, but I do not think it should be wiped clean and redesigned to be more attractive to the human eye. It needs some improvements in drainage, right now there are a lot of deep dirt ditches for water to go through when it rains, but they are not very efficient or sturdy. They will simply wash away with the rain water. The manholes could use some improvement, not necessarily taken away, but rebuilt. Some are quite dilapidated and the rocks that were surrounding them have washed away. Some of the graffiti should probably be painted over because they are rude and negative political statements.
I would expect some work to be done on this section in the next few years because the greenway, further down, has been receiving plentiful construction and improvement. There are plans to continue it down below the section I have been writing about. It seems to make sense that the city would want the whole greenway to be well kept and have a similar feeling to it. I will be interested to find out how they might improve or change my section. Hopefully, not in an aggressive way, but just some little improvements.