Thursday, January 01, 2015

Paradise Creek - The last day of 2014

Elvis and I took another training run today.  We hiked Paradise Creek in Portsmouth.  Pretty cool place. 

Website blurb / Trail Review / My thoughts

A little History from the Web Site

Paradise Creek is a local Nature Park that provides the rare opportunity to enjoy a restored Elizabeth River - first-hand.  This 40-acre, waterfront park occupies the banks of Paradise Creek.  This urban river, once presumed dead from toxic chemicals that were spilled into the this River for years.  Two miles of trails meander through this urban forest , 11 acres of new tidal wetlands.

The Elizabeth River Project, a non-profit environmental organization working to clean up the Elizabeth River, raised more than $3 million to buy the property and construct Phase 1 amenities.  The City of Portsmouth will operate Paradise Creek Nature Park as its third-largest park beginning Dec. 28, 2012, with field trips planned for all Portsmouth Public Schools. Virginia Port Authority in 2012 restored
11 acres of wetlands.  Many more partners are doing their part.

The wooded site at 1141 Victory Boulevard fronts Paradise Creek on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth.  Visit to enjoy the songbirds and waterfowl returning to this oasis of peace in an urban setting. Come back for education programming and volunteer opportunities starting in Spring 2013. Phase II will add two Wetland Learning Labs designed by UVA, more parking, a Rain Filtration Pavilion with
compost toilets and a children's playground.  A Park for Posterity — and Prosperity
Urban parks are in renaissance world-wide.  That’s because green spaces don’t just filter pollution. More than 30 studies have shown that parks have a positive impact on nearby property values.  Parks calm crime. Access to nature increases children’s ability to concentrate.  In fact, parks are “essential to human8well-being” (National Geographic, 2006).  Be part of this magic at Paradise Creek Nature Park.

Trail Review

If you choose to take a stroll through this park you will be delighted.  Nice smooth gravel trails make this hike very enjoyable, (except for the gravel in my boots).  There are also several Geocaches in the park if you're into that sort of thing.  Elvis and I found all 4.

If you take this hike, you will be surprised at what you will learn.  There are many signs and placards that explain the history, the partnerships, and the work that was done to make this park a reality.  You will also learn the names of the many indigenous plants that make up this urban Paradise.

The hike is very easy.  There is only one small hill that a 6 month old could crawl up it in a minute or two.  There is also a very nice bridge across the creek that provides a view of the entire wetland.  Very cool!  I will definitely come back in the spring and summer to enjoy this spot, and fight the mosquitoes that I am sure will be horrible.  But it will surely be worth it.

The park is very well maintained.  There are even plastic "Poo" bags supplied, for free, to pick up after your pet.  Unfortunately, some of those who "enjoy" this park are too lazy or ignorant to do the "Right Thing" and pick up their "Poo".  I guess they can read the signs.  Why am I not surprised? 
Trail Difficulty is a very easy 1 out of 10 / Enjoyment Value was a 8 out of 10 due to the ease of access, trail maintenance, scenery, information.

My Thoughts

As I strolled through the park, I read the signs and was impressed by the diversity of people, industry, and government who participated in this project.  This park is a testament to what the human race can do if we will only work together.  If we just put the politics, religion and BS aside for a moment and "Do the RIGHT thing", there is nothing we cannot accomplish. From the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,  Navy, government, to Industry, and Individuals,  they all came together to make something wonderful.  Not really a hard concept to grasp.  The hard part is the money to do these things and to maintain them, and getting rid of the excess baggage that bogs projects like this down. 

As an avid hiker and outdoorsman my whole life, I have always strived to be a good steward to our environment.  I pick up trash left by others.  I pick up balloons and ribbons on the beach, (my  nemesis).  I have participated in "Adopt-A-Highway" events.  I even sweep the street in front of my house to remove my yard waste from the storm drains.  I do many things that help, as do you all.  BUT... What more can I do?

What can I do to make my City, my Country, my Earth a better place to live?

I never make New Year's Resolutions, but after seeing the transformation of this toxic mud hole into a beautiful urban "Paradise", I feel compelled to do so.  So here it goes..

1.  I will renew my membership with the Natures Conservancy.  I was a member for years, but let my membership slide.  This is an AWESOME group that actually purchases property to protect it.  They have been doing it for years and are very successful.

Check them out at  

2.  I will begin carrying a small trash bag on all my hikes to pick up any, and all trash the I come across.

3.  I will actively encourage others to join or participate in some sort of environmental group or program.

Until next time...


1 comment:

Russell McLachlan said...

I spent some time reading the site. I am so ignorant to the outdoors! I'll try and fix that.