Welcome to the South Fork's June newsletter. It's a time of reflection and celebration, and here's a newsletter in that spirit.
Enjoy some of our favorite before+after shots. Get behind a new name for a new trail... Cheshire Farm Trail. Appreciate the design of our new trail sign.
As always, thanks for your continued support of The South Fork Conservancy. See you on the trail!
Meadow Loop Home To First Trailhead Sign
A new sign post installed mid-June will help trail users find their way onto the Meadow Trail from Lindbergh Drive.
The design is a distinctive bundle of heavy sticks, spaced apart for visibility. Designer Susan Stainback of Sylvatica Studio wanted to evoke the Creek Indian past with an arrow notch at the top of the post. Half a dozen map and graphic designers are collaborating on the watershed and road map to help people find their way along the completed and suggested trails. Gerlinda Grimes with Tucker Mott is using Sylvatica's base map with additions from the Atlanta Regional Commission's Allison Duncan and Byron Rushing. "It is exciting to help create a map with creek trails that people actually need to find!"Gerlinda said. "The streets are familiar, but nobody knows quite where the creeks and trail heads are. It's good work."
Decatur woodworker Michael Montgomery built the prototype from Sylvatica's design and hefted it into place June 17, 2014. James Lismore and wife Celia, South Fork's Outreach Coordinator, aided the installation. Water from the creek itself helped set the sign footings.
Before and After: The Cheshire Farm Trail
The Cheshire Farm Trail: Where, How, $, and What
Where is the trail?
The Cheshire Farm Trail spans the creek as it flows along the edge of I-85 between Cheshire Bridge Road and Lindbergh Drive. Find it off Cheshire Bridge Road where the road goes under I-85 and becomes Lenox Road.
How the Cheshire Farm Trail Came to Be
When the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) decided to build the new flyover ramps for GA 400, some neighbors weren't pleased. The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC) and the South Fork Conservancy encouraged community meetings where neighbors discussed how GDOT could make it up to them. After plenty of discussion, two popular mitigation ideas were offered to GDOT: National Register of Historic Places designation for the Lindridge Martin Manor neighborhood and the creekside trail. GDOT agreed to both.
Heather Alhadeff, a traffic consultant then working for Perkins+Will, helped steer the trail to completion. The cost neared a million dollars for the half-mile trail, including one major and three minor bridges.
What's in the Name?
During the construction phase, we called it the Creekside Trail. But, all our trails are along the creek. So, Sally Sears and Celia Lismore from the SFC went to the LLCC board meeting and asked for ideas.
"Exactly where is the trail?" Someone asked. We told her... Continue this article on our webpage
Before and After: Zonolite Park
Joy Delivers Sweet Treats For South Fork
South Fork Fans take joy in a lot of the creek trail work, especially when Joy herself arrives in person.
She strides down the trail, smiling with a box of brownies, berries or best of all, cake in hand, thanking volunteers for their hard work making the neighborhood better.
Joy Austin Beber lives in Cedar Chase and watched the early trail begin there with her husband John, in 2010. She's a great cook, and offered her first treats to a group of church kids whacking kudzu in the hot summer sun.
Now, the trail is in better shape and Joy's career is taking off. Lauded by Creative Loafing and other publications, Joy's catering and restaurant service is the toast of Buckhead.
She has a full crowd at Joy Cafe on Pharr Road every day.
But despite the demands, when South Fork Conservancy asked her for a plate of special treats for our Creek Rising party in April, Joy Delivered!
Her motto is Made with Love, Served with Joy. We know the South Fork has a lot of special neighbors who support our work. But these neighbors, Joy and John Austin Beber, are very special.
A couple of weeks ago, interested Atlanta Police Officers inspected three trails near the confluence to include them in maps and policing. They want to expand awareness and make sure the trails stay safe!
Photographer Bill Head took pictures of the trail construction (and a friendly box turtle-right?) as the police checked things out. City and area police leadership want to streamline trail signs and information and coordinate any incident reports.
To view the rest of Bill's pictures, follow this link to our Facebook Page.
The City of Atlanta's Urban Design Award For The South Fork Conservancy
The South Fork Conservancy's vision of connected creekside trails won two major design prizes May 20 from Atlanta's Urban Design Commission. The 31 mile Trail Design Vision Plan, created by Ryan Gravel at Perkins+Will, was praised by city of Atlanta judges. A second award went to the project creating the Creekside trail under construction beneath the flyover ramps at I-85 and GA 400. Heather Alhadeff at CenterForward deftly steered the trail plan through city and DOT permitting constraints. Built as mitigation for neighbors, the trail connects Cheshire Bridge Road to Lindbergh Drive along a half mile of soft-surfaced trail. DOT managers expect the trail to open soon.
Spotlight: Growing Up On The South Fork In The 60s
While other kids stayed inside to watch TV, Buddy Fleming and his friends spent their time "butt scooting" on a pipe across the South Fork to reach adventures beyond the far creek bank. Buddy says his days on the creek gave him an active mind. "It just fired my imagination to have a place to explore," says Buddy. "It made me write poetry. It made me write songs, and I think it's made me much more interested in history." He says that restoration of the creek banks is "remarkable," and looks forward to seeing it continue.
To read Buddy's full story, sign up for our printed July newsletter by sending us your mailing address.
May Day Was A Great Day For The SFC
May 1 gave us a wonderfully successful Spring fundraiser. Thanks to our hosts and attendees, we were able to raise several thousand dollars on that fine May evening at Zonolite. The air was thick with cottonwood seeds as guests toured the trails and took note of the lush growth of the Zonolite woodland and meadow. Everyone also enjoyed some yummy treats donated by South Fork Board Members. Ivey Claire Eldridge created a special "Creek Rising" cocktail which came with a gummy frog on the rim. A special thanks to Chris and Nick from the Motor Car Studio, who provided the venue for the event and allowed guests to enjoy their immaculate collection of restored cars.
Nuts! Better Luck Next Time!
In early March, we planted seven dozen experimental hybrid chestnut seeds with high hopes for green sprouts, joining an effort to reintroduce the American Chestnut after a century of extinction due to the Asian Chestnut blight. However, aside from a few hopeful saplings, many of the seeds remained firmly in their shells. Do we give up? Of course not! The ecological process is a fragile one that requires much patience, and next season we will pick up where we left off and try again with a new batch of hopeful contenders.
Bob The Beaver and Co. Bring Life Back To The Creek
Have you been keeping up with Tales of Bob the beaver on our Facebook page? Well if you have, then you already know that wildlife has moved back to the South Fork! Neighbor and wildlife enthusiast Donna Davis has reported seeing a family of beavers, two muskrats, and soft shell turtles puttering around the creek. The Atlanta Audubon Society President Joy Carter found and listed 23 species of birds on the trail. We're thrilled with this ever increasing presence of biodiversity and ask that if you visit the trail (and we most sincerely hope you do) please tread carefully on the creek banks so as not to disturb the delicate homes these gorgeous creatures are building.
Elementary Kids With Green Thumbs Grow Chestnuts
While our chestnut orchards may not have made it, seeds planted and tended by students at the Garden Hills and Morningside elementary schools flourished! The American Chestnut Foundation donated supplies and the each student in the three participating classes planted their very own Chestnut seeds at the beginning of the school year. Throughout the year the kids were engaged by the South Fork and the Foundation and covered a range of topics: from the life cycle of a plant to how plants get their food, and to what makes a Chestnut Tree a vascular plant. The 90 successful seedlings were picked up this week and left school to go to "summer camp" at ACE Hardware in Decatur.
Eagle On The Rise
While you're searching for our new wildlife residents, also be on the look-out for a future Eagle Scout hard at work on the Confluence Trail! Thirteen year old Robert Weimar has chosen the South Fork Conservancy for a planned Eagle Scout Service Project. This Inman Middle School student has decided to build and install benches and interpretation boards on the trail sourced from local and sustainable materials. While the bench design is in process, Robert is working on obtaining a permit and working with Executive Director Sally Sears to find the right materials for construction. He hopes to complete the project by the end of July.
Snow Days On Peachtree Creek
Olympic planners could envy the beauty of The South Fork at Zonolite after the January 28, 2014 snow. Photographer George Gentry found company in human footsteps and animal tracks. At the Confluence, Bob Scott reports "...dozens of paw prints in the snow on the beach across the creek from the up side down bridge....where the pair of coyotes were sighted."
At Peavine Creek, new Briarcliff residents found the trail toward Emory Road and Emory Village. They think it is much safer and faster than driving on Briarcliff or Clifton in the snow. And, oh, yes. Really gorgeous!
Dave Kaufman prevailed on Archer Western's Matt Baldes and Michelle Lewis to let select South Fork Friends scale the ramp & peek at our creek Jan. 27, 2014. Beyond the ramp, before the skyscrapers, traffic passes over vital tributaries to Peachtree Creek, cloaked in green tree canopy. South Fork founding board member Dave Kaufman kayaked them all, wrote a book about it, and now helps lead the building of simple trails re-connecting people to the creeks they abandoned. Lindridge Martin Manor neighbors said yes to the GA 400-I-85 ramps if GA-DOT built a nature trail underneath. Photo by Bill Head.
Coyotes, Concrete and Crusty Snow Claim the Confluence
It's not the Olympics but... Bob Scott & dogs are faithful Trail Rangers from Armand Rd at Cardova to the Confluence of North & South Forks. Coyotes along the trail are a reminder native species are returning to the area. Also a reminder to keep dogs on leashes. Overhead, the old Buford Highway is getting concrete repairs. DOT warning cones are in place, and most of the debris is being remove as it falls. More details and pics at Our Facebook Page.
Flyover Ramp builders show off their work, place span over creek.
Monday, Jan. 27, 4 pm, the day before the snow that first crippled Atlanta. Dave Kaufman said "Hey, let's get G-DOT to take us on the ramp connecting GA 400 to I-85, before it opens to traffic." I should have said, "Hey, it's 70 feet up in the air over the creek. That's a nose-bleed tour. Don't let me look down."
MLK Day Volunteers mulch, trim and give back to the South Fork
Every year now, Midtown's Martha Porter Hall volunteers at the Confluence in mid-January. She once was Coretta Scott King's secretary. Giving Back on MLK Day is her gift. Oh, and her truck Maude? Three dozen neighbors filled up Maude's flatbed with mulch, moving from trailhead to confluence tip. Cascade Forestry's Terry Sutton led privet- whacking teams revealing more glade & creekbank for greater biodiversity. Heartiest volunteers gathered below for a tee-shirt ceremony and congratulations.
More, Different Plants
Rich Sussman, right, pats mulch around three new Hornbeam saplings on the creek bank. In the foregrnd is Mountain Laurel, one of nine of these native rhododendrons we planted on cliff rocks separating a parking lot from the creek. True laurel is elusive along urban creeks. But in special curving bluffs, along the South Fork, Mountain Laurel thrives. The January 27, 2014 planting included volunteers with Trees Atlanta and the South Fork Conservancy.
Hornbeams' trunks look like muscles, the wood hard like horn, and the leaves are edged like a beech. It offers bright, fall color and thrives along creekbanks. The species is host to turkeys, wood ducks and Eastern Swallowtail butterflies.