A Conversation with Dan Weas: Chair of Friends of the Greenway

We sat down with Dan Weas, Greenway Friends Chair, to learn why he is involved, why he values the mission of Great Rivers Greenway, and how he likes to live life outside.

How did you become involved in Greenway Friends?
A colleague approached me about joining the Great Rivers Greenway Foundation Board. As an avid bike rider and greenway user, I was eager to not only serve on the board, but also lead the Greenway Friends program.

What is your Vision for the Group?
We want to create a community of Friends who share a common interest in outdoor activity, conservation, and improving the St. Louis community. It’s not just about financially supporting the mission of Great Rivers Greenway, but also becoming more informed and actively engaged in advancing this mission.

We are planning a series of “Friends-only events” such as guided tours with a naturalist to highlight some of the lesser- known treasures found along each greenway habitat. For example, did you know we are coming into PawPaw season? If you haven’t heard of them, they are the largest edible fruit native to the US. Watch for them on the Meramec Greenway, along the Rock Hollow and Al Foster Trails. We also plan to offer opportunities that include an educational component and a hands-on experience in the preservation, expansion, and maintenance of the greenways.

How are Greenway Friends making a difference?
While we just launched the group this summer, we already have more than 70 members who have expressed tremendous enthusiasm and are offering great ideas! Many are relatively new to the greenways, and their interest in learning more is the motivation for our upcoming Fall Friends Event on October 28th.

Do you have a favorite Greenway?
I enjoy many of the greenways; they each offer a unique experience. If I have to pick one, my current favorite is the Monarch Chesterfield Levee on the Missouri Greenway. With three children playing sports in this area, it is convenient and easily accessible for me and my family. The kids love riding their bikes under the bridge and taking the paths down to the river. I appreciate the mileage and the ability to take the bridge over the river to St. Charles County and connect with the Katy Trail.

Any other thoughts for the Greenway Friends?
We encourage you to share your ideas and interests with us. As a founding member of the Greenway Friends, you can play a significant role in discerning the vision for our community. We will be hosting a planning meeting soon for anyone interested in sharing their thoughts and opinions. If you would like to be part of this group, please contact Karen Schleicher, development coordinator, Great Rivers Greenway Foundation at kschleicher@grgstl.org. Stay tuned for more details on this opportunity!