Cottonwood Trail

Author: Thomas Webster

Softcover (ISBN: 1-891885-48-0 )

Cottonwood Trail is the story of the 85-acre preserve on Spartanburg's eastside told through photography and essay.

Publication Date: Oct 2006
Dimensions: 10 x 10 in.
150 pages

This place matters…

So says talented essayist Thomas Webster, who spent his youth in the place that has come to be known as the Cottonwood Trail and now regularly takes his own family to this special place on Spartanburg’s eastside. This place matters, he says, because it is full of things you rarely see in the more urban parts of the city.

In these eighty-five acres, on these three and a half miles of trail, exists more mystery than even the most generous lifetime will afford us to wonder over. And we should never imagine that it’s forever, never squander a chance to see what is here now.

For those who have never had the privilege to visit the Edwin M. Griffin Preserve — or simply want a preview before taking a first trip — two wonderful Spartanburg photographers present an enticing array of more than 100 colorful images capturing four seasons of life along the Cottonwood Trail. G.R. Davis Jr. and Peter L. Schmunk have pointed the lenses of their cameras at the delicate blossoms of the Carolina Silverbell, the guarded eyes of the great blue heron, the winding vines of the muscadine, and the swirling water of Lawson’s Fork. Thanks to their artistry, you’ll see in the pages of this book the languid northern water snake, the rare blooming columbine, a turtle burrowing in the wetland, and much more.

And if you’re a regular visitor to the Cottonwood Trail, these essays and images beckon you to return to the woods, to listen more attentively, to look around you with a new awareness. Together, the words and photographs here illustrate that the South Carolina Piedmont can be every bit as beautiful and diverse as the coastal region. The message here: These acres — and many more like them in the Upstate — deserve conservation and protection.

This place matters...

Thomas Webster

Thomas Webster

Thomas Webster is the father of three and has been an elementary school teacher for the past ten years. While at USC-Spartanburg, he was the fiction editor of The Prickly Pear. Thomas has worked as a freelance writer for Creative Loafing and various local papers, and his fiction and poetry have appeared in several publications. He is the recent recipient of a Hub City Writing Prize and a winner of the South Carolina Fiction Prize.