The Return.

radnor1Last weekend for the first time in over a year I took part in a volunteer day at Radnor Lake.

Radnor Lake is an artificial lake created in 1914 to provide water for the railroads. The surrounding woods were preserved and used as a recreational area by the railroad owners and their families. In 1973, facing the prospect of being developed for condominiums, a group of citizens worked with the state to purchase the land and preserve it. The area now gets over a million visitors a year.

There are still remnants of a pipe that ran downhill over seven miles from the lake itself to Union Station in downtown Nashville. A small part of that pipe is now on display alongside the Historic Valve House Trail. I helped move that piece and helped build the trail. I’ve also worked on other trails and other projects, including the new aviary. The part I’ve played is extremely small, but it’s still a part. With a lot of others I’ve helped make Radnor Lake a better place.radnor2

What makes Radnor Lake unique is that it’s a completely protected wilderness area in the middle of a major urban city. This makes it easy to get to, but it’s large enough that there are places within it where the forest seems infinite. It’s a place where a complete stranger might come up alongside you on the trail to point out a great blue heron standing just a few feet away, and where deer have become so accustomed to people they’ll come right up to you. I can go there when I want to be completely alone, and I can really enjoy taking friends there, or meeting strangers. It makes me happy to see other people enjoying Radnor Lake, which, I think, is why the volunteer days mean so much to me.

A little over a year ago I didn’t know when I’d be able to go back to another volunteer day. At times I wondered if I’d ever be able to go back. And then this weekend I was there spreading mulch on a trail. People walked by and paused to say, “Thank you.” I thanked them.

Are you lucky enough to have a place like that?

I really was working and not just standing around like a schmuck. Source: Friends of Radnor Lake

 

 

Facebook Comments

11 Comments

  1. kdcol

    How cool is that? Beautiful, Christopher. The only thing even remotely similar to that and close to us is our utility district building a nice walkway with a few playground areas and benches along the trail. They planted trees as well. It’s nothing compared to Radnor Lake obviously, but it’s a nice compliment to our little area of suburbia.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is nice. Any little patch of nature inside a suburban or even urban area is nice to break up the monotony. I’ve never lived in the heart of a really big city, but I can understand why people have rooftop gardens.

      Reply
  2. TwerlaP

    Umm..I think I was promised beaver. Oh well.
    I had no idea this was actually inside the city. But I’m glad you groove on the nature thing. I’ve lived where there was one tree per five blocks of concrete. It can really skew your thinking.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      My apologies–I did promise beaver. I’ve never actually seen a beaver at Radnor, but I’ve seen their work. Here’s a picture of that:

      Radnor Lake beavers

      And here’s a bonus–turtles!

      Radnor turtles

      Reply
  3. TwerlaP

    It’s weird you picked that picture…
    There’s a small creek in the woods, about 100 yds from my property line. And there are turtles in my yard all.the.time. Awhile ago, I was cutting the grass in back, and went right over a baby about 2 inches wide. It seemed OK, so I put it in the woods. To go do whatever turtles do.

    Reply
  4. Shawna

    That looks like an amazing place to go to reflect on things or get lost in thought. Good job volunteering!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s really important to me that other people enjoy the place too. I don’t know why. I just get a good feeling from seeing people on the paths and thinking, hey, you’re walking on what I put down.

      Reply
  5. Spoken Like A True Nut

    We’re pretty spoilt with all our big parks in Vancouver and the surrounding communities. It always makes me a little sad when I visit a city that has no such quiet green oases.

    I’m glad Radnor Lake was preserved and that there are volunteers like you to help keep it beautiful.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      In recent years some green spots like it have been lost to development, and that’s really been a reminder of how important it is to protect and preserve what we can.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    I’m so glad you have herons and city lakes and mulch where you are, too. I feel lucky to have a place like your blog to visit.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you, and I feel lucky to have your blog as well. I’m always divided between city and country, and envy the sights of Boston you enjoy on a daily basis.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge
%d bloggers like this: