I am new to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, so our trails are the perfect place to explore the park while allowing my senses and adventurous side to run wild. ECLP is a place where you can take a hike or run the natural surface trails and let the noises of the modern world fade into the sounds of your feet rhythmically hitting the path and mix with the rustle of squirrels playing in the woods and the conversations of numerous species of birds above.
Park Manager John Shafer says, “Research indicates proven health benefits from walking in the woods. I definitely notice the mental health benefits, but there are also physical benefits beyond the exercise. Observing seasonal changes and cycles in the woods helps me feel comfortable and hopeful.”
I never enter the woods without a little advice. When you visit, please swing into the Walney Visitor Center first. Did you know that Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is more than 650 acres with five miles of trails? To aid you on your hike there is a trail map on the Park Authority website that displays the length of trails and the trail surfaces. There also are trail signs throughout the park to help guide you.
Naturalist Mark Khosravi is another woods walker. He says a “walk in the woods leads to discovery – witnessing species interactions or a new species observed (reptiles, amphibians and birds) to add to my life list.”
What is a life list? All birders or herpers, professional or non-professional herpetologists, try to see as many types of species as possible in their habitat. “The North Loop is great for raptors and turkeys,” Khosravi adds, “or take a stroll on the Walney Creek trail to the pond and check out the turtles.” If you are working on a life list, different trails can reveal new and numerous species.
If you want to explore our trails and learn about park and area history, try the Southern Trail or Meadows. Shafer says, “I enjoy the sections of Big Rocky Run trail and the large meadow trail that follows the course of Big Rocky Run and that shows the natural beauty along with the signs of the mill development from the 1700s.” Naturalist Cheryl Repetti, a history lover, adds her favorites, noting, “The south loop to the pond is great for the ‘history-meets-nature’ experience. There’s the ice house, the ice pond, and Mary Lewis’ house site overlooking Rocky Run to visit. And there’s something especially soul-soothing about walking along Walney Creek.” The creek, Repetti says, “…has that ‘just right’ Goldilocks character — it’s not too loud and not too quiet: a gentle burble.”
History and nature are interwoven at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Jump on a trail and check us out.
See you this summer!
Author Kiersten Conley is the Visitor Services and Operations Manager at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.