I'd not ridden downstream on the Greenbelt for awhile, so when a beautiful Saturday came along, I decided a survey was in order.
In mid-September, Eagle city officials ordered some clearing action, and moving the pathway in a couple places where it infringed on private property; story HERE. And then later in the month, the Army Corps of Engineers threw a new bureaucratic wrench in the cogs, declaring that they hadn't authorized a the pathway through designated wetlands; story HERE. (It's always something, isn't it?) I wanted to see for myself if it was currently passable.
As expected, even though most of the autumn leaves are gone, the scenery was lovely. And the pathway was pretty decent, as well. People on their 22mm skinny tires might find a couple of uncomfortable stretches, since the last couple miles are dirt of varying quality. But my 28mm tires did fine. I wouldn't hesitate to take my 6-year-old granddaughter for a ride, from one end to the other.
Hopefully the photos below are an accurate representation of what you might expect, if you ventured that way.
There used to be a bona-fide bridge over the canal. It collapsed under somewhat mysterious circumstances a few months back. The debris has been cleared away. As of Saturday, there's a beam spanning the canal, roughly the width of a railroad tie. So, drunk people, especially those with bad balance, should avoid it. I didn't ride across, but I didn't feel uncomfortable at all carrying my bike... and while I was paused there to snap a photo, another fella came along in the other direction on his skinny-tire bike. He carried his over, as well.
In a way, the current state of the pathway is probably a good thing... if it were glass-smooth asphalt from end to end, with a nice, safe bridge, it would probably be more crowded on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. (I saw maybe 3 other cyclists, a couple pedestrians, and a few fishermen.) But I can't be greedy, or think I should have such a beautiful resource all to my self.
Clancy has mentioned his dream in the past... punch it all the way through to Eagle Island State Park (another couple miles downstream), and then allow bike-adventurers to ride down there and camp overnight, and then ride home the next morning. That would be a fantastic family outing! Clancy, you have my vote for governor, if you ever decide to run!