Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Don't pave in Bolin Forest

Here is an email to the Mayor and Board of Alderman in Carrboro. There is, aparently, a plan to do some paving in Bolin Forest. This is 300 acres or so of forest, streams, and trails in Carrboro. I don't like pavement in forests. What do you think? Put your opinion in the comments.

The email:


I'm a new resident of Carborro. I moved here from Cary this past June. I moved here for the trees and the smaller neighborhood feel of the town as well as schools within 5 minutes of our house. So far I like it a lot. Just the lack of horrible chain restaurants is enough to please me!

I'm writing today to let you know my dislike of the idea of paving trails in Bolin Creek Forest. My first reaction on hearing the news was "if you want that, move to Cary". Most of the trails there are neat and trimmed and perfectly paved. One may as well walk down the street as walk through the "woods" in Cary.

Though paving may seem like a good idea, I think it is detrimental to the spirit of the woodlands of Bolin Forest. The consequences of paving are degraded ecology and reduction of natural spaces available to residents.

Although this study from http://roadecology.ucdavis.edu/pdflib/TTP_289/W08/Modeling_effect_zone_11508.pdf involves roads, not smaller trails, some of the findings are relevant and can be applied at a smaller scale to a trail system.

Page 4 : "Transportation planning can involve many private and public entities and disciplines. Rarely does it involve natural sciences" (emphasis mine)

From Page 5:

  • 10-100mRoad construction & roadside management, weeds, local pollution, road-kill, light and noise
  • 100-1000m Downstream pollution, erosion, stream habitat alteration, noise aversion, habitat fragmentation
  • >1,000m Landscape fragmentation, local & regional extinction, weed invasions, large mammal movement, air pollution, climate change
Let me address that last point. In particular the climate change. One thing I noticed as soon as my commute changed from all Wake to Durham County to/from Brier Creek Parkway in Raliegh is the noticeable temperate drop just west of Fayetteville Rd (after South Points Mall). I did some searching and found average temperatures for the last 30 years:

It seems that our area is generally 1-3 degrees cooler! I believe the answer is as simple as looking at at sattelite view of the area on google maps (link). Notice how much more green there is where we are compared to just east of us. Pavement absorbs and holds heat and is at least partially responsible for the greater heat in Wake county.

I hope that another solution to the perceived problems with the unpaved trails can be found. If erosion is the issue - re-worked drainage and grading can help a lot without paving.

Thank you for your time.

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