Sketched April 17, 2013
For Jim Branson, whose family owned this land for nearly 100 years, those 257 zigzagging steps are a mixed blessing.
Perched on hollow concrete pilings, the staircase prevents damage to the slipping hillside and opens access to a majestic natural habitat. During our walk, Branson spotted northern flickers courting on a maple tree and pointed to a Douglas fir where he’s seen bald eagles land.
But the steps have also become a glorified StairMaster since the park opened in 2005. “For most people, this is just a trail to exercise and go up and down quickly,” sighed Branson. “They are talking on their cellphones and looking straight as if they were walking on a city street.”
Branson’s comments made me think: What are we using our parks for? He wishes more of those speedy runners took the time to stop and observe “all the wonderful things that nature is doing in our own backyard.”