Flooding on Raleigh Greenway Report 7a Update

Capitol Area Greenway – Report 7a: The Shelley Lake and Lake Lynn Trails flooded update

Shelley Lake and Lake Lynn Trails – Report 7

June 16th I visited the lake trails around Lake Lynn and Shelley Lake. A day earlier the flooding from Tropical Storm Alberto left the North Raleigh lakes under water.

Lake Lynn:

Ray Road entry from the parking lot is completely closed. It was a nice sunny day but from this end of the lake you cannot get a perspective of how well the water might be receding. The playground and community center at this end were in full swing.

I went back to the parking lot on Lynn Road and up onto the earthen dam on the south side of the lake.

The outflow pipe was spraying water in a more moderate manner than the day before, into the stream below. It appeared to be under a bit less pressure.

The trail had a caution tape across it, though it was being passed by. The trail on this lake is at the back door to hundreds of residents so it isn’t easy to close off. Further the trail ways have become such an integral part of community life that it would be hard to really impress upon the population the need to close the trails.

The park is not ready for reuse as the mud from the lake coats all low points. People should wait a week or so.

The infrastructure that supports the path as it crosses the water appears to be intact and in good repair. The Parks & Recreation did a very credible job on this after Hurricane Fran and the results are that it should be back in good repair in a relatively short time.

Those who don’t patiently wait need to use very great care. The surface of the bridges and walkways are intact; at the same time they are very, very slippery and dangerous. A rush to get in a run or ride too prematurely could easily result in a sports injury.

The good news is that with only a few exceptions the water is down below the surface of the paths and most structures are intact.

One deck dock on a cove on the west bank of the lake did rip free and is about two tenths of a mile south of its intended position. It is a rather massive structure so it could take quite a bit of effort to return it to its original position, if that is even possible.

The ducks appear to be having the best of the situation.

Shelley Lake:

I decided to check out Shelley Lake to see if its structures were visible.

Like Lake Lynn, Shelley Lake’s structures were now visible, though much of the structure still needed more time. The bridge on the west bank was visible though the water was still high. On the east bank the first bridge was still slightly underwater on the south end.

Like Lake Lynn, it appears that the bridges and boardwalks of Shelley Lake have weathered the flooding. Here too folks should use extreme caution until the trails have been cleaned and dried out. Given the number of folks I saw trying to travel the trails I suspect that the strong community attachment will make more than this impossible.

The trail south from Shelley Lake was close when I checked it out. The high rate of water flowing out of the lake makes this stream trail potentially extremely dangerous. Hopefully people will use alternate walking areas for a few days until the strong flow of the stream diminishes.

Crabtree Trail

I visited the Greenway near Crabtree Valley just to see how it was coming. During the storm the trails around the Crabtree Mall had disappeared under eight to ten feet of water. The water has gone down and the trails were being cleaned by the Parks & Recreation folks. There was a lot of debris left on the banking and on the underneath of bridges. The water was right up to the Glenwood Road Bridge that crosses Crabtree Creek. The trail passes under the bridge, meaning the water was at least eight feet above the trail.

Like the lake trails these paths appeared to have suffered little damage other than the debris left by the stream. Crabtree Stream was still well over its banks. The trees along this part of the trail are all bent over in the direction of the flow of the water.

This trail would be a better place to walk than the lake trails as the trail surface is not slicked up by mud.

Allegany Trail

I visited the Allegany Trail and checked it out too. The trail is in relatively good condition. Parks & Recreation appears to have cleared and major debris from the trail here. The banks of the stream here are low and wide which probably resulted in less damage as the water could flow freely.

The stream is full here. The majority of the damage that I could see was limited to some of the boat docks on the shore opposite the Greenway. Hopefully these can be restored by just moving them back in place. Other than the docks the flood doesn’t seem to have done any permanent harm to the trails or residences along the banks.

I did not check every trail I know of, nor every inch of every trail I have mentioned. There may be damage to parts of any of the trails and hikers (walkers/runners/etc) should use care. Folks with children would be wise to avoid the lake trails for a week or so.

The Allegany Trail would be a good alternate, not too far from the lakes, for children’s bike riding and strollers. Allegany Trail also provides access to Crabtree Trail for adult riders who need more distance.

It is good to know that the lakes kept the flooding to a minimum and that the damage to the trails appears to be minimal.

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