Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll share “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about the great outdoors in the Triangle – parks, trails and green spaces under blue skies. So brush up on your trail etiquette, lace up those shoes, slather on the sunscreen and join us for some fresh air and fun times.
You can call me biased (and I won’t argue that point with you in this case) but I feel that people sometime over look the significance of the “P” in RTP. I’ve called the Research Triangle Park in Durham home for the last three years. OK, so technically I don’t live “inside” RTP, but adjacent to, with two major RTP businesses as my next door neighbors. However, I do live and play in the area daily and my dog and I have put the RTP paved trails to very good use. On many of the daily dog walks, I imagine what the park will look like once construction starts on the new Park Center. I’m excited to see what changes will come to my neighborhood and wonder will there be new amenities added to the existing. Which leads me back to that “P”.
There is a park-like atmosphere pervasive throughout the 7,000 acres that comprise the business park. Unless you work (or live) in the area you may not realize there are more than 15 miles of pedestrian trails (with more to come). During work week lunch hours, traffic on those trails reaches peak volumes as workers within RTP businesses get outside to stretch their legs. There’s also a focus on nature and the environment via a tree identification trail and a bluebird trail with 40 bird houses. A 4 mile mountain biking trail was added in recent years (and further expansion is planned). Most any evening during the week, you’ll find softball and volleyball leagues playing on the fields. So yes, there is definitely a park within RTP.
If I had my wish (or wishes) the future park amenities would include more natural features, as well as more public art (I do love that Aqua Cow from the 2012 NC Cow Parade stands prominently in front of the RTP HQ building). I’d love to see a seasonal display of indigenous wildflowers lining some of the paved trails around the park (like those large swathes of flowers you find along the interstate). An outdoor amphitheatre would be great for evening and weekend events, plays, live music performances, adding to that creative dimension. Add a large pond or water feature with shaded seating areas for those quiet moments we all need once in a while. Since my visit to the new Apex Nature Park, I’ve been interested in disc golf, so let’s add that to the list too. Oh, and a dog park would be rather enjoyable too (my dog made me add that to the list). At present though, I’m content to stroll along the relatively quiet trails each evening, looking forward to a time when I can greet the new Park Center neighbors to come.