Trails are About More Than Just Nature

Leah Walters
November 5, 2018

Trails were created to embrace nature. They help to guide visitors as they experience all that the parks have to offer. There are a variety of different reasons that trails are built but a couple examples include, in support of a cause, building communities, and rejuvenating a natural area. 

Support a cause

One unique use for trails is rehabilitation. We did a project at Cone Health Cancer Center. Cone Health wanted to use a reclaimed water retention pond to create healing gardens. This became a part of a peaceful outdoor environment for patients and families.These trails helped the patients focus on rehabilitation while getting a change of scenery. It is a peaceful space for patients and families alike; they can relax and reconnect. The network of boardwalks became an outdoor centerpiece for this leading cancer treatment center. 

Build communities 

  Trails help to improve community health by getting people out and active. This has been proven to help physical and mental health. Trails also increase tourism because they bring visitors to places that they would not typically go. They improve safety by providing safer routes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Trails also allow for controlled interaction with and enjoyment of the  environment. Elevated trails help to guide foot traffic without damaging the ground and interrupting the natural runoff of rainwater. 

Rejuvenate an area 

  Trails can rejuvenate an area. They can take what was once a run down piece of land and turn it into something that everyone can enjoy. One example of this can be found in the Midland and Old Pond Park. After decades of mismanagement and intermittent flooding, it was time for a makeover of the two parks. For this park, it was essential to create a system of trails the enabled visitors to access many parts of the park. By the end of construction over 25,000 native species and plants had been restored to the park, and a network of elevated trails helped to move visitors across affected areas. 

No matter the reason for the construction of the trail, once it is there, it helps everyone. The trails are a place of solace for rehabilitation, a place for activity for healthier lives, a place to interact with nature. The trails are something different for everyone. The trails are about more than just nature, they are about their visitors. 

Pictured above: our project at Cone Health Rehabilitation Gardens