The Nature Trail
Hugh Knapp, resident of Emerald Heights, runs the group that is responsible for maintaining the mile-long trail that wraps around the entire community. The resident-built “Nature Trail” came about as the residents wanted a chance to explore the surrounding natural beauty of Emerald Heights. Hugh loves the picturesque setting of the west side of the trail and explains that maintaining the trail is all about keeping it as natural as possible.
Every Tuesday and Friday, the group goes out to the trail, making sure that it is safe and walkable. Maintenance includes raking the leaves, picking up branches that fall in the way, weed control and trimming overgrowth on the trail. The group is consistently about 10 people who are very accommodating to needs and schedules. “Everyone will have something come up at some point where they cannot make the time on both Tuesday and Friday, and that’s perfectly fine. We want everyone to be able to do what they need to do, and others are welcome to join the group if their schedule permits.” The group has a great comradery and they have a great time maintaining the Nature Trail pathway for the residents.
Some of the best parts of the trail are breathtaking views of the foliage, the tranquil escape and the interesting wildlife residents get to see. Residents walking along the trail have seen so many different species of animals, and they keep their distance, so walkers can continue on their way. “We’ve seen some bears, deer, bobcats, coyotes, herons, and the residents’ favorite – owls!” Hugh said. “Along the trail, there is one particular spot in which you can almost always find an owl,” he added.
While maintaining the trail at Emerald Heights and working with the group is one of Hugh’s favorite activities, seeing the residents’ enjoyment and love of the trail provides him with even more delight and satisfaction. As for his two pieces of advice for walking the trail? “Bring a buddy and a walking stick, and you’ll be good to go!”