Adapting to Change

Leah Walters
September 24, 2018

It is no secret that our environment is in danger. For many of us, our careers depend on nature and therefore we have a very special relationship with our earth. As time goes on we learn that it is essential to adapt to the ever pressing need to conserve. “As society responds to inconsistency in economic, social, and environmental change, the necessity for 'good design' continues to adapt and become more prevalent.” This quote exemplifies the growing importance of an environmentally friendly design for our parks. 

All parks are beneficial for our environment because they provide a sanctioned space for nature to flourish. However, there is a way to design a park that combines function, accessibility, and appeal, with conservation and protection… 

Boardwalks have the functionality of trails, all while embracing the environmental protection of the ground below them. 

  • Non-penetrating, pan-feet help to stabilize the boardwalk without penetrating the ground. This helps to conserve the ecosystem by not disrupting the soil and the habitats that depend on it. 
  • Boardwalks also provide a designated path for visitors. This path helps to direct park-goers and keep them from veering off the trail. Since the foot traffic is not directly on the ground, the soil is not damaged, compacted, or contaminated, and the natural rainwater runoff is not disrupted. 
  • Elevated trails also allow access areas that typical trails could not reach. You can go through marshes, across ponds, or near sensitive areas. The visitors keep their shoes dry and the organisms keep their ecosystem safe.

“Practitioners deal with the challenges of not only serving clients and achieving design excellence, but most also ‘run profitable businesses, all without harming the earth.’” We understand the pressures and challenges facing landscape architects and we believe that boardwalks are an excellent solution. They embrace and protect our environment, they work with the nature rather than in spite of it, and they can lead park visitors to the most exquisite places.