Greenways (linear reserves or green corridors) represent the fastest growing segment of conservation activity in the U.S.A. This study tour was designed to sample the diversity of greenway projects in that country. Across eleven states, thirty-two greenway organisations were visited and thirty-one greenways inspected. More than 1,000 leaflets , reports and maps were collected to form the nucleus of an Australian greenways resource centre. To promote goodwill and make the exchange of information a two-way process, a talk on Australian greenways was given to fourteen of the organisations visited.
Highlights of the tour were:
1 The opportunity to study at the major greenway planning organisation in America, the Conservation Fund in Washington, D.C. for almost two weeks.
2 The opportunity to attend two greenway planning conferences, the first organised by the Aquidneck Island Trust in Rhode Island and the second organised by the
Yampa Valley Alliance in Colorado.
3 Seeing the three most inspiring greenways on the trip:
i the greenways linking the lakes of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the Mississippi River for the ‘magic’ illusion they gave of being in the middle of a forest while in the heart of a major city;
ii the Boulder Creek greenway, Colorado, for the diversity of added attractions along its length that make it almost a ‘theme-park’ greenway and its integration into the life of the town;
iii the Yakima greenway for the happiness it so obviously brought to the whole community.
The main lesson learned was that the popularity with local communities and value for nature conservation of greenways make the difficulties and expense of creating them worthwhile. The techniques of lobbying, publicity, planning, funding, land acquisition, construction, mobilisation of volunteers and management of greenways that I observed can all be applied with modification to the Australian scene. There are many encouraging signs in Australia of a developing greenway consciousness. I hope to play a role in encouraging this consciousness and providing practical help to greenway lobbyists and planners through a programme of public lectures, workshops and publications that will culminate in a book ‘Greenways for Australia’.