TRAIL VIEW: Making Connections with Trails

April 5, 2016

My husband Jonathan and I will be moving to Greenville, South Carolina at the end of April.  We have lived in Newton County since September 2013 when Jonathan took a job with a company that contracted to manage construction of the Baxalta plant.  We chose to live at the Porterdale Loft and Mill and have appreciated its vicinity to Baxalta and the Covington YMCA, where I work.


I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at the Y and train running groups to successfully compete in races ranging from 5k's to half marathons. Because of my work with runners of all levels in Newton County and the fact that I am a competitive runner and member of the women's masters elite team of the Atlanta Track Club, I have made good use of Newton County trails.


While I appreciate the beautiful trails of Newton County, there have been some frustrations as well.  Trying to find a safe route for longer distances, well, you have to kind of go round in circles!  We've used the short paved trail at Turner Lake Park as part of the half marathon training group I've led over the past two years and run through the square to the Eastside Trail.


However, running the roads presents traffic hazards. In particular, living in Porterdale, we do not feel safe running along Washington Street and find it necessary to drive 10 minutes to Covington to do our runs.


Oh, how I wish that we could have got that link (the Turkey Creek-Yellow River Trail) from Porterdale to Turner Lake Park during our time here! We would have been able to run from our home with safe access to Covington and avoided the 10-minute drive. With the beginnings of the trail at the Yellow River Park and Turner Lake Park already in place, it has been like looking at the keys on the floor just out of arms reach whilst locked behind a prison door.


Leaving all the wonderful friends we have made in Newton County is going to be tough. However, we're excited about living in Greenville and see the city as what Covington and Porterdale are striving for and relatively close to achieving through the development of a connected trail system.


When Jonathan received the job offer in Greenville, we wanted to spend time exploring the city to be sure that we wanted to make the move.  A weekend in Greenville convinced us that it has exactly what we are looking for. It has trails, including the 24-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, and pedestrian-friendly roadways galore as well as all the conveniences of health-oriented supermarkets and restaurants within a 15-minute radius.


The people of Greenville have revitalized what was once an industrial town into a thriving community. In fact, Greenville was recently voted in the top ten by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s best downtowns.  I'm inclined to agree. Greenville is proof in the pudding that a community that invests in itself can be very prosperous.


Newton Trails' plans to develop the rail trail from Covington to Newborn is fantastic news for Newton County. I encourage everyone to become members of Newton Trails to support the effort.  The organization is making great progress to bring all citizens a better lifestyle opportunity and make the county attractive to future development and the type of prosperity that Greenville has found.


Over the two and a half years that I have lived in Newton County, I have seen great progress in the desire to build more trails.  We look forward to coming back to visit friends and seeing how Newton County grows through a connected trail system. 


Tracey Ashall

Fitness Trainer, Competitive Runner

and Newton Trails Volunteer



Newton Trails thanks Tracey for her contributions to Newton Trails.  In addition to inspiring runners and contributing to our newsletter, she has volunteered as a walk leader and challenged her Newton County friends to become Newton Trails members.  We wish her and Jonathan well.


Whether you're a lifelong resident or recently moved to the area, we welcome your perspective on how trails enhance our community.  Please contact us at for more information or to submit an article.







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