Trail toward a healthy Suffolk

Published 10:49 pm Monday, September 30, 2013

Considering the vast natural areas Suffolk boasts, folks who live in the city have long been challenged to find places where they can enjoy the great outdoors near their homes.

To be sure, there are good parks in Suffolk, but most are geared toward families with children looking for playgrounds, people looking for a good game of tennis and groups planning afternoon cookouts in one of the city’s many picnic pavilions. To get close to nature has been kind of an all-or-nothing commitment, with the city’s walking trails mainly confined to the Great Dismal Swamp, a place whose reputation can be somewhat off-putting for casual walkers and day-hikers.

But the central part of the city will soon get another, more accessible trail that will showcase some of Suffolk’s prettiest views. Construction of a mile-and-a-half trail by Lake Meade, expected to be complete by around the beginning of 2014, will provide easy access to nature for folks looking to pursue healthy lifestyles.

Email newsletter signup

The walking trail will carry pedestrian and recreational bicycle traffic, giving users the opportunity to spot wildlife including hawks, bluebirds, cardinals and other birds; foxes, deer, raccoons, and also American holly grove, oak and poplars, so users will be able to enjoy some of the best natural landscapes in Suffolk while they are keeping themselves healthy.

The trail is just one of the upgrades for the Lake Meade park, which is located behind the Farm Fresh on North Main Street and has long been a favorite of parents because of its extensive playground equipment. The Howard Mast complex within the park is a first-class facility for folks who like to play tennis, and the addition of a skateboard park expanded the facility’s user base even more. A dog park will bring in yet another group of users, and the walking trail will help complete the park’s all-encompassing approach to health and wellness.

Perhaps the best part of all this is the fact that it’s located so close to so much of Suffolk’s population. When the improvements are complete, a significant percentage of Suffolk’s citizens from every age and every level of fitness will have access to a facility where they can pursue activities to help them become physically fit.

That’s the trail toward a healthy Suffolk.