Many people who live in suburban or urban areas are not able to experience the thrill of walking through quiet woods. I know all too well, as I live in the suburbs of Detroit where there are many cars, people, buildings, etc. Over the years, however, I have discovered that there are many parks and recreational forests that many people are oblivious to. These parks are often just a short drive or walk away, yet unfortunately, very few know of their existence.
I am fortunate to have been introduced to the local park systems at a young age, and have grown up around them. Across the street from my neighborhood lies Holliday Nature Preserve. This wooded land was set aside with the intent to preserve habitat, and contains countless trails for biking, running, or walking. I remember packing a lunch with my dad and sister and going out for an early morning walk on the weekends. Today, I frequently run through the preserve with my track or cross country team, and continue to walk and explore these areas with my family. This park is tucked in between busy roads, stores, and neighborhoods, yet when I go into it, the noise of the traffic is forgotten.
Another park lies within a five minute walk from my house: Hines Park. This park is not as obscure as Holliday, and many more people are aware of it. Many lakes line the paths, as well as the Rouge River. Hines hosts many events, and it serves as a gathering place for the community. On any given day, you’ll find visitors to Hines Park doing everything from hiking and jogging to fishing and flying kites. The park is more than 20 miles long and goes through many communities. I’ve always envied the people who live on the hills overlooking the park, because it’s essentially their backyard. It would be very nice to have a park, with all of its different features such as hiking paths, ponds, streams, and ballfields, a few steps away.
Even though I live in a very urban area with lots of concrete, cars, and people, I’ve really made an effort to find ways to get back to nature right in my community. That’s really what I’ve learned from growing up in suburban Detroit—Nature is all around us. You just need to pause and discover ways to embrace it. You don’t have to travel very far to have a relaxing and pleasurable time outdoors.
Kathleen George – YCC member