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The Daily Tar Heel

Local documentary sheds light on controvesy surrounding Bolin Creek development

Bolin Creek weaves alongside the trails, with neighborhood homes visible in the background.
Bolin Creek weaves alongside the trails, with neighborhood homes visible in the background.

Six months ago, he heard the trail would be paved. He decided to do something.

“I felt like making a movie, because I already was making movies, could be the best thing that I could do to help make sure it didn’t happen,” Morris said.

Morris created a documentary called “Bolin Creek Unpaved: Saving Carrboro’s Last Forest” about the fate of Bolin Forest, otherwise known as Carolina North, the town’s last 400-acre riparian forest. He produced the film independently on a zero-dollar budget.

A preview of the film was held at the ArtsCenter on Jan. 15 and received an unexpected turnout of nearly 350 people from the community who showed up to lend their support.

“I was floored,” said Julie McClintock, president of Friends of Bolin Creek — a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Bolin Creek watershed. “I brought food for 50, and the cookies went in 20 seconds.”

The Friends of Bolin Creek helped to sponsor the screening, and all ticket proceeds went toward the nonprofit’s conservation efforts.

The film, which focuses on the diverse wildlife and ecology of Bolin Forest, discusses the controversy that continues to swirl around plans for a proposed greenway first put forth by the Carrboro Board of Aldermen back in 2009.

The original plan, designed to be a 4.8-mile north-south path for cyclists and walkers spanning from Estes Drive Extension up to Homestead Road and then on to a segment by Jones Creek, has been met with contention.

In April 2016, community members voiced their concern over a community climate action plan update in which the Board of Aldermen considered paving the Bolin Creek trail for a bike path, though it was removed from the plan.

In May 2016, cross-country runners of Chapel Hill High school converged on town hall to voice their displeasure with phase 1B of the Bolin Creek greenway plan, which intersected their running trail at three different points. Phase 1B began construction in July 2016, while phase 1A of the greenway was completed in 2013.

Phases three and four of the project, which initially involved a paved trail alongside Bolin Creek itself, were delayed indefinitely pending public input.

“There are portions of the project that are either completed or underway now,” said Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils of the initial Bolin Creek greenway plan. “What are called phases three and four were delayed in a decision by the board in 2009, and that hasn’t changed.”

In June 2016, the board voted to revisit phases three and four of the plan, though no decision has been made about the plan.

“No alignments or routes have been selected for phases three and four,” Seils said. “And the town has not yet decided how to proceed with an additional public engagement process with phases three and four. I’m sure that conversation will continue into this year.”

Future screenings of “Bolin Creek Unpaved: Saving Carrboro’s Last Forest” will be played at The Oasis in Carr Mill Mall on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. and at The Station Carrboro on Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Both screenings will be free of charge.

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