Most passports are collecting dust, buried in a box or drawer, but Anne Springs Close Greenway (ASCG), a 2,100 acre nature preserve, now offers a trail passport detailing all their 36 miles of multi-use trails and gives a description along with other popular points of interest for local adventure seekers to explore. So grab a trail passport and like so many new visitors during this pandemic, find a new trail at ASCG. Take the 25th anniversary hiking challenge and complete all trails in the passport by the end of 2020 to earn a completion certificate and get a free t-shirt. ASCG is committed to conservation through educational and recreational opportunities for the whole community, and volunteers served over 11,904 hours in support of the Greenway in 2019. If you’re interested in experiencing the Greenway for yourself, here’s
Where to Start
Their most accessible trails are located at their Lake Haigler entrance, but you can enter through their other three major entrances as well. Though their zip code is Fort Mill, ASCG is right over the SC/NC border, less than 10 miles from Waverly. See their website for different entrances and directions to each.
Visitors are welcome to visit the Greenway Monday through Thursday and can pay their daily admission fees online. Membership begins at just $5 per month for an individual and can be purchased online.
If you’re more homebound, you can still stay connected to nature through the Greenway’s virtual educational programming. Visit their website to learn more.
How to Learn at the Greenway
There are campouts you can register for in advance and all recreational programming on the weekends with pre-registration is open to members and non-members. There is also outdoor yoga and a newly installed Wildflower Garden maintained by their Natural Resources staff. Guest passes are available for members to utilize with their guests on weekends, as the Greenway remains open to members only Friday through Sunday in order to prevent overcrowding and promote social distancing.
This year ASCG recrafted their educational offerings due to COVID; thus, the Outdoor Academy was created along with new programs like the Greenway Discovery School to help students attending school on the A/B schedule have a place to come on their off days to complete class assignments while also having more opportunities to get outdoors.
There is also the new Outdoor Explorers Club for students who pick a track before their visit, so they know which activities they’ll be participating in, and parents can choose how many days a week their child will attend.
If you and your pod want to take a field trip you can sign up and build your own program - self-escorted or you may opt to have a facilitator. This is a great way to experience the Greenway’s traditional field trip activities that align with Common Core and meet curriculum based needs away from the screen.
This also is the second full year of the Greenway’s nature-based preschool. The first graduating class finished in May and young nature explorers continue to learn this year together, outdoors!
Other Ways to Experience the Greenway
If you appreciate native habitats, you will appreciate ASCG’s intentionality in converting more than seven acres of farmland back to Piedmont prairie native habitat; the Schweinitz and Dottie Metzler Prairies are accessible through ASCG’s Adventure Road entrance. Utilizing controlled burning and other land management techniques, this area located adjacent to the Adventure Center and Mary Warner Mack Dog Park has been restored to its native habitat where plants and wildlife are thriving. Their federally protected Schweinitz sunflowers are in full bloom right now, too!
If you’d like to ride horses, ASCG houses more than 120 horses, owning roughly half of them for public trail rides and programming and for a therapeutic equestrian riding program. There is also a kayak launch on Lake Haigler, and visitors can bring their own or rent kayaks on the weekends for those seeking new forms of recreation. A child favorite is the Swinging Bridge accessible from the Dairy Barn or Lake Haigler entrances. Visitors can also enjoy viewing the farm animals and historic cabins from the handicap accessible trail at the Dairy Barn entrance.
COVID continues to ground us, but ASCG is thankful to be an outlet for people to continue moving and exploring nature together, socially-distanced, of course! :) If you’d like to donate items for their educational and programming opportunities, visit their Wish List.
If you’d like to help ASCG as they continue to pivot their programming to support the community’s needs, all while conserving 2,100 acres of land for community members to enjoy, you can vote for them for them to win this month's #SpotlightOnCLT $5K courtesy of the Amy & Brian France Foundation!