As I was walking under the dazzling crisp yellow leaves at the Big Creek Greenway recently, I began to more fully appreciate the artistry that the season of fall gives us. Of course the beautiful colors come to mind, but so do jack o’lanterns, beautifully decorated apple pies and leaves that dance with every gust of the wind. What particularly caught my attention that day, however, was the design and thoughtfulness that goes into the public parks that I enjoy.
Parks, whether they be sprawling national vistas like Yosemite or football field size patches of astroturf, require meticulously detailed design, purpose, and aesthetic to be a success. This can be seen through the detailed landscape planning when it comes to space usage (thinking of skate parks vs. ball fields vs. picnic tables vs. trails all in the same geographic footprint) but also in the way the parks are kept. What would Sawnee Mountain Preserve be without the pruning of dead branches from the pathways up? Without the budding spring flowers or the informational placards on the deck atop the mountain?
All of these components and more come together to create a truly beautiful place to explore and take in some of the season’s beauty. The conservation of many of these natural lands both for protection and familial enjoyment date back to the hard work of naturalist John Muir and his influence over fellow nature-lover, President Teddy Roosevelt. The pair worked tirelessly in the 1900’s and established more than 150 natural forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land. Their legacy and the work of similar minded folks since allow us to take in the vast beauty of the world around us.
Whether it be to the sprawling hills of Shanendoah, the snowy peaks of Yosemite, or even to the oaky twists and turns of our Forsyth County Parks, I encourage you all to take in the artistry and design of a park near you this fall.