Today is St. Patrick's Day, and it's got us thinking about all things green! Our favorite green thing is, of course, Shelby Farms Greenline (it's got, "green" right there in its name!). Just for fun, we put together six fun facts about the trail:
1. Did you know that Shelby Farms Greenline used to be a rail line? Train tracks used to lie where your favorite path is today. Trains hadn't run on this section in many years and the land was pretty much abandoned and unused, so Shelby Farms Park Conservancy teamed up with Shelby County Government to secure a right-of-way for the land, turning it into a cycling and pedestrian trail. This type of transformation is called a rails-to-trail project, and Shelby Farms Greenline is one of the most popular types of rails-to-trails projects in the region!
2. Shelby Farms Greenline was built in phases. The first section of trail opened in 2010. This 6.5-mile stretch connects the heart of Memphis to the Park, running from Tillman Street to Farm Road. The second phase extended the trail 4 miles to the east, connecting Farm Road to Old Cordova, and making the trail just over 10 miles long in total. An additional future extension is planned to extend the trail two more miles on the east end.
3. The mile markers run east and west. The trail was designed to connect trail fans to the Park and to each other, so the 0.0 mile marker sits at the Farm Road. If you head west, the markers run from 0.0 to 6.5W. If you head east, they run from 0.0 to 4E. Shoutout to our friends at Campbell Clinic for helping us keep track of the miles by sponsoring the markers!
4. Nearly 200,000 visitors enjoy the trail each year! How do we know this? A special system of Eco Counters are installed at key points on the trail and in the Park to help the Conservancy better understand where and how* visitors access the Park and Greenline.
*Yes, how! These in-ground counters use a pressure system that is sensitive enough that it can detect whether a cyclist or pedestrian (or cars at vehicle entrances) has crossed the entry point.
5. Shelby Farms Greenline runs on love! Keeping this incredible amenity clean, green, safe and open 365-days a year (or 366 days in leap years like 2020) is a big job! From the daily maintenance and care that the Park team provides, to volunteers lending a hand, to the donors whose gifts make this work possible, taking care of a 10+ mile trail is a team effort!
6. Shelby Farms Greenline is growing! Learn more about the upcoming extension plan that will further connect Midtown Memphis to the trail here!