River's Edge Park gets a facelift

By Haywood Waterways Association | Mar 20, 2017
Photo by: Donated Volunteers from Haywood Community College plant trees and shrubs at River's Edge Park in Clyde. The park recently underwent renovations and now include trees, an outdoor environmental learning center and educational signs.

CLYDE — The town of Clyde’s River’s Edge Park just got a facelift, thanks to Haywood Waterways, Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District and several other community organizations.

Additions were made to improve the Pigeon River’s water quality and add features that attract visitors to the park. Improvements included trees, an outdoor environmental learning center and educational signs.

River’s Edge Park was created as a result of the 2004 floods when many properties were damaged. The park is in a floodplain and its main purpose is to manage high flows during heavy rains. By providing a place for high waters to go, it reduces the power of floodwater and protects downstream properties.

“The town, along with the citizens of Clyde, are so thankful for the opportunity made possible by Haywood Waterways, Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District and other partners,” said Joy Garland, Clyde town manager. “This project has not only provided an educational opportunity for our youth, but acts a model of good stewardship in protecting our natural resources."

The park has extensive erosion, especially along the river. Planting trees and shrubs that grow large root systems will protect and stabilize the riverbanks.

“Excess sediment is the No. 1 water issue in Haywood County,” said Eric Romaniszyn, executive director of Haywood Waterways. “Once grass is established, it does a great job of preventing rain from eroding land, but their shallow root systems do a terrible job of preventing water from undercutting river banks, or stopping erosion once it starts anywhere. That’s where trees and shrubs really help.”

To expand on the revegetation work, the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District is providing technical oversight and another $44,000 of funding through the N.C. Community Conservation Assistance Program. Stream bank construction and riparian plantings will be completed later this spring and fall.

“The District and N.C. Division of Soil and Water are designing a river bank bench for the river to flood during normal storm events,” said Duane Vanhook, member of the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District. “The riparian plantings will protect this benched area, as well as the upland areas of the park during a flood.”

The outdoor classroom provides a sheltered seating area where teachers and students can discuss the environment and perform laboratory studies.

It also complements a milkweed garden adjacent to the center that the town planted to benefit pollinators.

The Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and town of Clyde provided funding for the project. Volunteers from Haywood Community College helped plant the trees, remove invasive plant species and clean up trash.

More information about Haywood Waterways, visit www.haywoodwaterways.org.