The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL50
Greenways coordinator Liz Belcher isn't
spot, with Twin River Outfitters doing brisk
SAVE THE DATE
quite sure when the greenway will be done but
business during peak season.
does know this: the growing system of urban
Roanoke Valley localities have extensive
Mark your calendars
paths she has been advocating and seeking
recreation programs and have made strides
for some of the
funds for over several decades have fostered a
to improve their park systems. Roanoke
valley's favorite annual
sense of community: "People interact so much
County operates the Green Ridge Recreation
on the greenway, and when you see [them]
Center and the Splash Valley seasonal water
having pub runs and all kinds of social events,
park; private fitness centers include YMCA
Blue Ridge Marathon
of Roanoke Valley locations and Carilion
I think it really has given Roanoke," she says,
"something to be proud of."
Wellness in Roanoke and Botetourt counties.
From Rotary Park in the City of Salem a
For those who enjoy watching others do
Gallop for the Greenways 5K
section of the Roanoke River Greenway, not
the work there is "Virginia's Championship
APCO 5K and 10K Festival Run
quite four miles long, runs past the Moyer
City"-Salem, which over the past several
Sports Complex towards Roanoke County's
decades has hosted more than 80 NCAA
Go Outside Festival
Division II and Division III championships,
Green Hill Park. You can walk/run/bike through
including the nationally-televised Amos
northwest Roanoke City to Valley View Mall
Star City Half Marathon
Alonzo Stagg Bowl D-III football title game
(Lick Run Greenway), trek to the fabled neon
since 1993. NCAA Division III soccer last
star (via the Mill Mountain Greenway), through
Drumstick 5K Dash
December was the latest addition to the
parts of Vinton (Wolf Creek Greenway, the new
Glade Creek Greenway) and elsewhere. See
portfolio. Those title tilts-including softball,
greenways.org for more details.
basketball and lacrosse over the years-have
Jingle Bell 5K Run
Future plans call for the Roanoke River
an estimated $4-5 million annual economic
Greenway to span the valley from Green Hill
impact in the valley.
Park in the west to Explore Park in the east.
"There's no question that the reputation
The Tinker Creek Greenway has a long-range goal to extend
of Salem in hosting championships was most beneficial to
well past its modest length now, all the way to Carvins Cove.
us," says Salem Director of Tourism Carey Harveycutter about
A smaller Tinker segment currently meanders to the reservoir
adding soccer on short notice after being relocated from North
from a trailhead near Hollins University.
Carolina. "Once you've got it down they're very apt to come back
At the Cove there are 60-plus miles of trails-some allow
... again." Salem also hosts numerous adult and youth softball
mountain biking. Roanoke County's Explore Park is developing
tournaments at its Moyer Sports Complex. Recently Botetourt
a master plan for its 1,100 acres; there are already several miles
County built a softball facility as well, sharing larger tourneys
of trails suitable for hiking/running and mountain biking.
with Salem and staging others on its own. The Salem Memorial
The 2,200 mile-long Appalachian Trail makes its way through
Ballpark is the home of the Salem Red Sox, a farm team of the
the Catawba Valley and includes one of the most photogenic
Boston Red Sox.
spots on the entire route-McAfee's Knob, approximately four
Joining the professional team sports in the Valley, pro hockey
miles from a trailhead on Route 311. Nearby Jefferson and
is back after a decade hiatus, with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
Washington National Forests also provide numerous hiking
of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Rail Yard
Dawgs play at the Berglund Center where Virginia Tech also
and camping opportunities.
competes at the collegiate club level. Dawgs Vice-President
On the opposite side of the Roanoke Valley to the east,
the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) offers a relaxed, scenic driving
Mickey Gray says the early public reception "exceeded every one
experience with numerous overlooks for picture taking and
of my expectations." Roanoke College Maroons basketball and
picnicking. There are also trails for hiking and horseback riding
volleyball teams now play at the $30 million Cregger Center-a
along the BRP. Less than an hour away Smith Mountain Lake
stunning new gym/indoor track complex among the best in
provides opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming.
Local recreation officials are developing a "blueway" on
All things outdoors are now celebrated by thousands at
the Go Outside Festival-"GO Fest" at the River's Edge Sports
the Roanoke River, with kayak/canoe launches and outfitters
to rent boats. Currently there is a small boat launch on South
Complex every fall. Roanoke Outside-an arm of the Roanoke
Jefferson Street near the Virginia Tech-Carilion medical school
Regional Partnership created specifically to promote local
campus and one in Vinton along Tinker Creek, with others in the
outdoor amenities-is the prime mover behind GoFest. "I think
planning stages. You can also rent small boats at Carvins Cove.
we have really changed the community narrative here," says Beth
In Botetourt County the James River Blueway is further along
Doughty, executive director for the Regional Partnership. The
in its development; the Town of Buchanan is a favorite "put in"
outdoors, "aren't just for looking at-this is for doing." n
50 | 2017 VALLEY LIFE MAGAZINE