Big Creek Greenway and Sawnee Mountain Preserve re-open after storm damage

Work to repair storm damage at two of Forsyth County’s most popular amenities went quicker than expected.

After closing last week due to downed trees caused by then-Tropical Strom Irma, Sawnee Mountain Preserve re-opened on Friday and remaining portions of the Big Creek Greenway were open on Monday.

The opening of Sawnee was on schedule, but it was originally thought the greenway would take weeks to repair damage. All parts of the greenway except a portion between McFarland Parkway and Union Hill Road also opened on Friday.

Last week, Matt Pate, natural resources director for Forsyth County Parks, said approximately 20 trees fell on the Big Creek Greenway and about another 15 fell at Sawnee Mountain Preserve after rain and high winds on Monday.

“At Sawnee, we were lucky that none of the trees fell and caused structural damage – it was mostly on the trail system,” Pate said. “On the Greenway, we lost seven of 12-foot-by-12-foot areas that are going to have to be repaired.”

Pate said about 20 trees fell on the greenway and another 15 at Sawnee.

For the greenway, damage was not serious but one project needed to be complete before moving to the next.

“There’s not a lot of damage in one place. It’s in multiple areas. You may go 20 to 30 feet and there’s a section damaged and you can’t get vehicles and stuff through to repair that piece, and then you move on to the next one,” Pate said. “It’s not extensive [damage] – it’s just where it’s at.”