Cary NC Greenways: Nearly 40 paths, Over 80 Miles, and for 40 years.

It is no secret to residents and those in the surrounding that the outdoor living options in Cary are plentiful. The town does boast numerous parks and green spaces across town. Likewise, with over 80 miles and nearly 40 separate “paths,” we will look at the Cary NC Greenways.

The Black Creek Greenway trail is one of the many beautiful paths you can enjoy in Cary.

(This post is the first in a series on Cary NC Greenways. We will detail the specific Carey NC Greenways in the articles to follow and in this piece give an overview of exactly what a greenway is and their benefits.)

What is a Greenway?

Before we get into the Cary NC Greenways, we first must address an obvious, but important question. What is a greenway?

According to the official Town of Cary website, a greenway is defined as follows. “A greenway is a linear parcel of land set aside to preserve open space.” The town website goes further to explain where and why greenways are located. 

“Greenways are generally located in floodplain areas, along wooded stream corridors unsuitable for development.” It continues, “Often these corridors that harbor Cary’s greenway trails provide access to these pristine areas that otherwise would have been lost.” The explanation concludes, “Greenways are an environmental, economic, and recreational resource for all to enjoy. “

Cary-NC-Greenways-Preston-Retreat
Shown is Cary’s Batchelor Branch Greenway Trail. This is one of almost 40 greenway trails in town.

Cary NC Greenways: A Historic Look Back

What began as a safety issue over a local school sports team in the mid-1970s, would prove to be the initial “seeds” planted in the formation of the Cary NC Greenways. Cary resident, Linda Setliff voiced her concern to town officials, about the safety of the Cary High Cross country team. 

Ms. Setlif, at the time, believed that the two-lane, no shoulder, country road section of Kildaire Farm Road was unsafe for the runners. Long story short the Town Council agreed with the concerned citizen.

Thus, in 1976, the Cary Town Council created a new committee, the Greenway Commission. After much research and planning over a three to four year period, the town was ready to implement a greenway system. Actually, since 1980, the Town of Cary has been building greenways to bring open spaces within easy walking distance of our homes. Currently, the Cary NC Greenways system runs for more than 80 miles.

Celebrating 40 Years of Cary NC Greenways

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the greenway trails in the town of Cary.
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the greenway trails in the town of Cary.

Whether on foot, bicycle, or just out walking the dog, more than 80 miles of greenways are available to enjoy in Cary. 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Cary NC Greenways connecting residents to their to schools, shops, parks, and more. The town has planned numerous events to commemorate forty years of Cary NC Greenways throughout the year.

According to the official Town of Cary website, there are many ways that the Cary NC Greenways enhance one’s way of living. They listed these out as follows.

  • Providing a recreational amenity for walking, jogging, and bicycling in a natural setting remote from traffic
  • Preserving pristine open space to enhance Cary’s quality of life
  • Linking our neighborhoods with parks, schools, community centers, and other neighborhoods
  • Helping control stormwater runoff, curb erosion, and minimize flooding which can damage our property
  • Improving Cary’s water quality by buffering streams, filtering pollutants, and recharging our groundwater
  • Adding value to our property by merit of proximity

This is the first in a multiple article series on the greenway trails in Cary. In upcoming posts, we will look at individual trails. For more information on these and upcoming events celebrating the 40th anniversary, visit townofcary.org