Trails on the straight but not narrow

January 21, 2013 

If one stretched Raleigh’s greenways trails on a straight line, a person could walk from the Capital City to Durham and back...twice. Most residents are happy to have the trails, even if they don’t use them, which they should. Devoting over 80 miles to places where people can walk or run or bike or just look around says something about a community’s concern for more than roadways and getting from here to there as quickly as possible.

It also speaks to a city’s concern for public health. A greenway lightens the spirit, clears the lungs and connects citizens to the wide open spaces, providing an introduction to Mother Nature herself. In Raleigh, trails are spread over 3,700 acres.

Thanks to a new volunteer program, some residents are getting the additional benefit of giving a little something back to the community. They walk the trails to ensure the safety of those who use them, but also can spot problems with road signs and graffiti. They’ve also found two lost children, which must have put them in the category of superheroes to a couple of sets of parents.

This type of effort is what makes a city livable, and it speaks well of the hardy souls who sign up. In part, the volunteer corps is a reaction to problems that have happened along the AmericanTobacco Trail in Durham, where unfortunately there have been several incidents. Durham now has a volunteer watch program on that trail to discourage criminal activitiy.

If one’s looking for a wholesome, healthy activity that helps others, this is a good one, and certainly in a city blessed with so many trails more volunteers always are needed. To sign up, call Bruce Embry of the Raleigh Police Department at 919-996-1118.

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