Friday, March 23, 2007

Secrets of Shelby Park

I live very near Shelby Park, which is actually a complex of several parks. It encompasses two golf courses, baseball fields, greenways, duck pond, dog park, and community center. There is no overall map of the park, and city maps show it as an undifferentiated green blob, without even the roads that run through it. It took me a long time to realize I could walk to an entrance (without just stepping onto the golf course and getting whacked in the head with an errant ball).

The greenway has a map available, but it only shows some of the greenway. There are some mowed paths that even have names but do not appear on the map; they are only shown on the large signs at either end of the greenway - nothing you can carry with you - and they aren't marked at intersections. There are other trails, such as the short nature trail, that don't appear on any maps.

All this makes discovering the park feel like a real adventure. One of the trails I never knew about until recently makes a half-circle around the dog park and community center, with a very short side path. There are several follies in the park (for lack of a better term), and two of them are on this trail. I have no idea when or why they were built.

The first is a man-made grotto, which appears at one end of the trail. It could use some restoration.


The trail wanders through a small wood, with occasional peeks through the trees at the duck pond down below. At the other end of the trail, a short side trail leads to a cute shelter. The shelter is right next to one of the large entrance roads, and when driving by the trail is not visible; I had previously wondered why the shelter was there, when there was seemingly no access to it.


If you wish to see this trail for yourself, the easiest way to get there is to take Shelby Street east until it reaches 21st.

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