The town of Elkin began cleaning up along the banks of the Big Elkin Creek last year when the WXII weather camera was to be installed on the back of the library. The view of the dam was barely visible, and the area behind the library looked like an untamed jungle.
Last summer, the kudzu was so bad, that it grew up tree trunks, attached itself to utility wires, then over the West Main Street bridge and began crossing Main Street within a week on the west side of the creek’s hillside. The vines were so thick on the hill, that it was recommended to wait until the vines went dormant over winter before the job could continue.
The east side of the creek behind the library is property owned by the town, so they invested in removing enough brush, kudzu and trees to allow a clear shot for the WXII camera, as well as much needed clean up around the library grounds. This job was completed by East Coast Tree Experts in 2015.
This spring, with the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club’s new benches installed last winter near the dam on the west side and plenty of dormant kudzu covering dead briars, brush, saplings, pokeberry and other groundcover, the town and the Rotary club together funded the completion of the project on the west side of the creek.
For the clean up for the west bank, Yadkin Valley Turf (formerly Green Grass Choppers) was hired to cut back the overgrowth along the steep hillside and hauled the debris away. Looking sparse at the moment, the town was assured that in no time, the kudzu would be growing back over the hillside and, along with the roots left in the dirt, would provide barriers for erosion control.
After last year’s invasion of kudzu and with the camera being installed, the commissioner approved most of the costs for funding for the creek’s clean up. This is a necessary maintenance issue, for keeping the kudzu under control is very important to the streams and the natural environment downtown. WXII’s representative felt the view of the dam was the “money shot” and that no other small North Carolina town provided such a beautiful view of nature. Soon the green growth of summer will be upon the area, the banks will be green again, and the views of the dam, trails, church and historical residences will be seen clearly and ensure beautiful photos for residents and tourists for years to come.
Laura Gaylord is community and Main Street manager for the town of Elkin.