Progress continues on the Hitchcock Creek Greenway Project in Rockingham, and you may notice three new bridges if you head out that way.
“We have made great progress so far,” said City Manager Monty Crump. “We’ve got three bridges up and have put in part of the walkways, but the trails are rough with no hard surface yet.”
Parking areas at the Roberdel put-in site and the Steel Street out-put site are still being worked on, but folks are canoeing, according to Crump.
The Wildlife Commission is still working on the primitive camp site, to be located in the Diggs Tract. Crump said they are working on clearing out the road leading off of Osbourne Road.
“We are also working on signs,” said Crump. “Sportsman folk ask me about this all the time.”
Recreational opportunities are growing in Richmond County, and Rockingham Mayor Pro-Tem John Hutchinson is pleased.
“I’m really excited about that,” said Hutchinson, who rafts regularly on Hitchcock Creek and has also been known for running. “From what I have seen, good things happen when we facilitate things like that. When you put something like this in place, you never know how it’s going to be used.”
Hutchinson is referring also to Hinson Lake’s trail, and the 24-hour run that takes place there annually.
“The walking trail is in a beautiful area,” he said. “It’s almost completely pristine. You don’t realize you are in the middle of town. It’s going to be a real asset to our area.”
Some form of the Hitchcock Creek “Blue Trail” has been on the drawing boards for almost a decade. A key element was the removal of the 100-year-old Steele’s Mill Dam so water — and canoeists — could flow freely downstream. The demolition took place two years ago and involved the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The City of Rockingham hopes the new recreational area will provide more incentive for families to relocate to Richmond County, and for a form of recreational tourism to grow here.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.