South River Greenway Expansion
What’s better than a brisk walk out in nature to reset your mind and body? Trails are beneficial to both physical and mental health, as well as the health of the habitats that surround them, and the South River Greenway is no exception. Already a wonderful resource, great things are in store for the Greenway. Here’s what’s new and coming up.
The Greenway is a flat, asphalt path running along the South River that’s loved by walkers, runners, bikers, and anglers alike. Offering views of the river, the mountains, city parks, and Waynesboro’s industrial areas, the Greenway originally ran 1.2 miles along the scenic waterway through Constitution Park, stretching from Arch Avenue near the YMCA to Shiloh Avenue in the Port Republic Historic District. A new nearly mile-long section of the path opened in September, connecting Constitution Park to Bridge Avenue at North Park. This expanded, scenic section hugs and overlooks the river, providing great potential views of birds and wildlife.
Open from sunrise to sunset, the Greenway has parking at either end as well as in Constitution Park near the Farmers’ Market pavilion. Visitors will find benches, water bottle fill stations, picnic spaces, exercise stations, and portable toilets. There’s a bike maintenance station, interpretive signs teaching about wildlife and Waynesboro history, an accessible fish-shaped observation deck, and a fishing-themed Virginia LOVEworks sign. In fact, the Greenway is a huge asset to fishermen who use it to gain access to one of only two urban trout fisheries in Virginia, and paddlers hoping to float down the Virginia Scenic River.
Beyond the Greenway
A good way to extend your Greenway adventure is to jump onto the Waynesboro Street Arts Trail, and explore more than a dozen large murals featuring a variety of subjects that add beauty and whimsy to Waynesboro’s industrial areas. You can’t miss the 100-foot “Kaiya with Tulips” portrait that gazes down at Constitution Park. Download the Traipse app to start your street art tour. Look for new murals to be created as part of the annual Street Arts Festival in October!
If you’re strolling on Saturday morning, make sure to check out the Waynesboro Farmers Market pavilion in Constitution Park. The market is open from May until the end of October and vendors sell fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods, flowers, honey, and more, all locally produced.
If you’re out with the kiddos, walk over to the Blue Ridge Children’s Museum’s Natural Playground. It features a rock slide, mud kitchen, stone labyrinth, and more, and it’s the perfect place to let the little ones blow off some steam. If you’re out Thursday-Saturday, check out the great selection of new and gently used books at Stone Soup Books.
The Greenway is also just steps from a number of downtown Waynesboro dining options. Grab coffee at The French Press or a hearty breakfast at Weasie’s Kitchen. Alex’s Tacos and Benny Stivale’s (pizza) are good bets for a quick lunch. You can get a tasty dinner at Heritage on Main or the Green Leaf Grill.
In other exciting future news, a plan is in place to substantially expand and redesign the existing Constitution Park into a “larger, more useful and environmentally conscious” space that will be called the South River Preserve. Funded by the DuPont – Waynesboro Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) Fund the planned preserve will make environmental changes like remediating mercury, improving water quality treatment and erosion control, increasing native plantings, and expanding habitats for fish, birds, and wildlife. The preserve will also include paths, event spaces, and river access points for paddling and fishing. There is also a plan in place to create a passive recreation area adjacent to the South River Greenway at the end closest to the YMCA, called the Loth Springs Natural Area. This will produce an improved user experience, enhance wildlife habitats, and reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.