Swamp Rabbit Trail
|Swamp Rabbit Trail|
Swamp Rabbit Trail
|Length||17.5 mi (28.2 km)|
|Location||Greenville County, South Carolina|
The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 18.7-mile (30.1 km) Rails-to-Trails, multi-use trail system in Greenville County, South Carolina that largely follows the bed of a former railroad that had been nicknamed after the indigenous swamp rabbit. South-to-north, the current trail begins at Greenville Technical College, crosses the city of Greenville, proceeds through Falls Park and the campus of Furman University, and ends in Travelers Rest.
In 1999, the City of Greenville created the Greenville County Economic Development Corporation to buy an abandoned shortline railroad for use as a light commuter rail and greenway. Although the proposed commuter rail was abandoned, planning for the multi-use trail began in the summer of 2005, and the Swamp Rabbit Trail officially opened on May 7, 2010, despite "legal entanglements, regulatory roadblocks, financial issues and citizen opposition."
A scholarly study in 2012 estimated that more than 350,000 people annually used the trail and that area businesses increased their sales from 30 to 85%. In 2013, the mayor of Travelers Rest said that the trail had "been phenomenal for the whole county, but more so for us in Travelers Rest. I can’t begin to tell you how much of an economic boost it’s been to this town." A 2012 Greenville News editorial described the Swamp Rabbit Trail as "one of the most popular assets in Greenville County...proving that when it comes to such trails, if you build them they will come." In 2014 it was estimated that more than an estimated 400,000 people used the trail annually.
- Mann Batson, The Swamp Rabbit Railroad: Legacy and Legend (Travelers Rest, SC: privately published, 2010).
- One currently unconnected section runs from Lake Conestee Nature Park to Parkins Mill Road and I-85, and another disconnected section exists in Fountain Inn. Residents of the Parkins Mill neighborhood, an upscale area, have opposed the connector from the Lake Conestee section. "Parkins Mill residents say 'No,'" Journal Watchdog, July 27, 2011. Fountain Inn.
- Greenville County Recreation District website. The Greenville Health System pledged $1 million and was given naming rights. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website
- Greenville News, April 21, 1999, 1B.
- Greenville News, November 22, 2006.
- Greenville County Council Chairman H. G. "Butch" Kirven, quoted in the Greenville Journal, January 18, 2013, 14. Kirven considered the Swamp Rabbit Trail a highlight of his tenure, but called it "a very close thing."
- April A. Morris, “Safe on the Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Greenville Journal, November 30, 2012, 8-9; Jenny Arnold, "Swamp Rabbit Trail is worth the ride from Spartanburg," July 5, 2012, GoUpstate.com The trail is planned to reach Lake Conestee to the south; and anticipating development toward the north, the mile marker at the current Travelers Rest terminus reads “23,” the distance to the North Carolina border. "Bikeville, S.C.: Scenic Swamp Rabbit Trail gets Greenville moving," Charleston Post and Courier, March 5, 2011.
- Greenville News, March 22, 2013.
- Greenville News, June 26, 2012.
- Greenville News, July 23, 2014, 1.