Explore a New Trail Near Peachtree Creek

By Sally Sears
Invitation  to explore a meadow in winter — it’s a newly created trail through a  long-ignored slice of Midtown, beside Peachtree Creek and Interstate 85.  Popular tours of the trails last week gave dogs, owners and neighbors a  walk in nature.
The  neighbors and the South Fork Conservancy are carving a new vision for  caring for our intown creeks. Simple trails through the landscape beside  the south and north forks encourage people to walk their dogs, breathe  deeply and re-discover big hardwoods hiding in plain sight on public  land. This meadow is interstate right of way, next to a neighborhood  with almost no accessible greenspace.
Two years of cooperation helped to  build this mulch trail, weaving along the creek and through a meadow of  wild flowers and grasses.  Neighbors hope to connect the trails under  the interstate to the Morningside Nature Preserve, Zonolite Park and  then to the Herbert Taylor-Daniel Johnson Nature Preserve.
If  you want to walk it, the trail head is just across the guard rail at  Lindbergh Drive and I-85. On street parking available at Lindbergh Drive  and  Armand Road.
More information is available at the South Fork Conservancy website.
Sally Sears is the Executive Director of thr South Fork Conservancy, a nonprofit that seeks to restore, conserve and protect the Riparian systems of the South Fork of Peachtree Creek Watershed. This article appeared in the Virginia Highland/North Druid Hills Patch on January 11, 2012.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced test results for asbestos contamination


The US Environmental Protection Agency announced test results for asbestos contamination of public land along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. The news encouraged green space supporters hoping to build trails for public use near the creek.
Last spring federal agents gathered soil and air samples near the trail site, looking for remaining traces of asbestos from a closed vermiculite processing plant at Zonolite Road near Emory University. The results revealed at a community meeting at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Sheridan Road found no measurable asbestos on most of the site.  Only at one site did the  EPA find what it called “barely detectable” asbestos contamination.
EPA coordinator Terry Stilman says “the risks from exposure to airborne asbestos are very low for recreational users.” 
Neighbors  want a creek side trail linking the park to Daniel Johnson-Herbert Taylor Park just upstream, across Johnson Road, and a community garden in the 13 acres now owned by DeKalb County. Another large public park, the Morningside Nature Preserve, is nearby downstream.  
The single spot still suspected of contamination is a mound or plateau about 170 x 250 feet, between the former Zonolite plant and the South Fork of Peachtree Creek.  “This site needs some action,” Stilman told a crowd of two dozen neighbors, trail and park supporters, and green space officials from DeKalb County. “It has a barely detectable amount of asbestos present. Without the presence of the plateau, we (The EPA) would not have any stake in this land.” 
The EPA’s stake means pressure on the former manufacturer, WR Grace, to clean up the contamination, allowing the public safe use of the parkland. Failing that, Stilman says EPA Superfund dollars are appropriate for this site, which he called a Legacy Vermiculite Site, one of dozens around the country currently being assessed by the EPA.
The news left DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader enthusiastic for the future of Zonolite Park.  When Stilman said the EPA will design the remedy, neighbor Mike Morton asked if the community would be included in the design. Commissioner Rader said “Yes. I can make that clear, since we own the land.”

Sally Sears, Chair - South Fork Conservancy

“We want a good design, using this flood plain for protecting the creek and allowing the public safe access to a sensitive piece of Piedmont  woodland for trails and recreation,” says Sally Sears, chair of the South Fork Conservancy. 
Rich Sussman, Environmental Coordinator of the Lindbergh-LaVista Corridor Coalition, believes the news is positive for neighbors eager for more green space close to their homes and businesses.  The two organizations lead community work days helping to create trails along the south and north forks of Peachtree Creek, from Lindbergh Drive to Johnson Road.
More samples from the plateau are in EPA hands, taken Monday, December 6, 2010. Stilman says the EPA will analyze the results, and determine a method of reducing the risk by mid-January, 2011.
More information at:   www.epaosc.org/VermiculiteExpansionWRGraceAtlantaGAO144               
EPA information officer: bryant.kyle@epa.gov
Reported by Sally Sears, Chair of the South Fork Conservancy

South Fork – Peachtree Creek workday Apr. 17


Robert Rule
Robert Rule, South Fork Project Coordinator

by Robert Rule

LLCC is partnering with the South Fork Conservancy to clean up areas along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek. Our first major workday will be April 17th. We will be cleaning up trash and removing invasive plants – NOT clearing new trails – on City of Atlanta Watershed Management easement adjacent to Lindridge Martin Manor. Several Boy Scout and Cub Scout units will participate. Volunteers and groups are welcome! For information contact me, LLCC South Fork Project Coordinator, at robert.rule@linberghlavista.org.