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Roanoke Greenways By Craig Simonds

            The Roanoke greenways are paved paths that connect different areas of Roanoke.  People use them for recreational purposes, and getting around town.  On the greenways you can walk, run, bike, rollerblade, or use most non-motorized forms of travel.  The greenways are generally routed through scenic areas of town such as by rivers, historic sites, or pretty fields.

        A local nonprofit group initially proposed the greenway project in 1993.  They were a group of citizens who came together seeking to improve the quality of life in the area.  Greenways in general can be used for a number of activities, the most common of which are running, biking, walking, dog walking, or traveling to a nearby location.  The Roanoke greenways provide a relatively safe place to exercise, where you can enjoy being outdoors and take in the beautiful scenery along the way.   The Roanoke Greenway system is also very interconnected, and traveling between two locations can be easy and fun.  In some cases, if you are near an entrance of the greenway, you can make it to some places quicker than in a car.  The greenways also run along, or cross over rivers in a few locations, so you will often see people fishing along the greenway.

        There are 20 miles of greenway in the Roanoke Valley, and over 10 in Roanoke City.  To get all of these paths built, and some connected, the group of citizens that founded the greenway had to work with the local governments in four jurisdictions.  Because of this effort, the Roanoke greenways are truly all over the area.  There are several websites devoted to the greenway, and showing people where the greenways are located in Roanoke.  There are also a lot of activities and fundraisers centered on raising money to maintain the greenways and raising peoples’ awareness of its existence.  A couple of these include the 5K race Gallop for the Greenways and a photography contest in which people submit their best pictures of the greenway, and the scenery that surrounds it.

        The greenways in Roanoke are a source of pride for many locals.  The outdoors community is hooked on them, and anybody that uses them for exercise is grateful for their existence.  The greenways are a great place to spend a pleasant day outside.  A very popular stretch of greenway runs along the Roanoke River House, which contains Wasena Tap Room and River Rock Climbing.  This stretch connects this area to multiple parks, a sports complex called River’s Edge, and a portion of the Roanoke River that many people fish in.  Using the greenway to get to these destinations spots, and spending time around the greenway is a fairly common past time in this area, especially on weekends when the weather is nice.

        Due to the greenways popularity in the area you will often encounter other people when you are on the greenways.  People along the greenways are generally friendly, and this in conjunction with the greenway’s popularity fosters a nice communal atmosphere when you are traveling along the path.

        When traveling along the Greenway you will see a multitude of parks, rivers, trees, and some of Roanoke City as well.  The Roanoke greenways provide a great place to get in shape, avoid driving, and to take the pets or kids to. The citizens of this area love having the greenways around.