Community Partners Work Together to Prepare for the Creekline




Many hands make light work, so the saying goes. 

Last Saturday, community partners put this saying to the test by coming together for a workday to clear the way for the Creekline Trails of Opelika’s pilot trail system on Waverly Parkway. The new trail system now under construction will include a main paved multi-use path, nature paths and more. The trail system is funded in part by a recently awarded state grant combined with city matching funds and local donations. The Pepperell Branch-Waverly Trail will provide more than a mile of trails along a scenic stretch of Pepperell Branch Creek.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, Creekline Trails of Opelika organized a collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce 20 Under 40 group, Auburn University Water Resources Center, the Southeast Conservation Corps, the city of Opelika and Keep Opelika Beautiful, as well as local citizen volunteers. With a lot of team effort, this group worked together to host a large cleanup event at the new trail site. 

While one group cleaned Pepperell Branch Creek, the stream that runs alongside the new trail system, another group helped clear out an old pump house site that may one day be a scenic rest stop along the trail system. 

“It’s amazing how much work can get done when community partnerships take place,” said Laura Bell with the Auburn Water Resources Center. “With community momentum, we were able to clear over 27 bags of trash, 12 tires, multiple plastic chairs and cars, old pipes and other debris.” 

Opelika’s 20 Under 40 program is made up of 20 outstanding people under the age of 40 who live in Opelika, love Opelika and have a vested interest in shaping the direction of the city’s future. This year, the group selected the Creekline Trails of Opelika for its service project. The group will work on clearing debris and creating a more friendly seating destination for pedestrians. 

By working with the Auburn University Water Resources Center and Keep Opelika Beautiful, the 20 Under 40 group was able to leverage its project into an even larger cleanup event. Litter often gets washed into waterways via storm drains or illegal dumping; creek cleanups like this help protect local water resources. 

The Auburn University Water Resources Center operates several outreach programs, like Alabama Watershed Stewards and Alabama Water Watch, that aim to educate and inform people about water stewardship and ways they can get involved in making a difference locally. Keep Opelika Beautiful facilitates various beautification and cleanup activities across Opelika. 

Creekline Trails of Opelika, a citizen-driven project operating under Envision Opelika, led this collaboration of local groups and volunteers and sponsored a trail construction crew from the Southeast Conservation Corp (SECC). 

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially heading into 2023,” said Mike Akins, coordinator of Creekline Trails of Opelika. “As we get trail construction underway, participation by all these local volunteers and key collaborating groups makes a big difference. We are so grateful to see so much interest and energy.”

As the Creekline Trails of Opelika continues to make progress on providing trail access to the greater public, it’s clear that community partnerships can make long-term progress both feasible and fun. 


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