Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

Lake Charleston

We went out to Lake Charleston today so I could hide a couple of the rocks I painted.  (Those are Spring and Take Up Space). Wow, the place has improved!  When I was little, it was boring -- nothing but the lake, a warning sign not to kill yourself playing on the dam (with names of people who died on it), and some crappy gravel-and-mud parking places on the slopes.  But over the last several years, it's been improving. 

Several years ago, they paved the path over the levee so now it's a wide mixed-use path; we saw a roller-blader and a girl with a scooter on it, quite a lot of people really when we used to see only one or two others.  There's a storytelling circle there too.  No more wading through knee-deep grass and chiggers!  A while back they scraped all the greenery off some of the slopes to kill invasives and are now trying to redo it with native plants, so it's starting to come back.  New in the last year or two: more benches and chairs, lots of freshly planted tree saplings of various species, new cut trails, a pavilion with a small playground, and they're currently putting in whole new parking pads of poured concrete that are actually level.  Of particular interest to me is that some of the trails are flat or nearly so, while others are up and down the steep upland-forest hills, which offers something for all levels of ability.  They even cut one over to another park to connect the two.  \o/  I also spotted at least two butterfly gardens in progress.  I really want to go back and explore the new trails before the weather gets too hot, and then go back when flowers will be blooming to investigate the gardens.

Let's see if I can do the 10 things trick:

1) People watching now there are actually plenty of people going there.
2) Wildlife watching on the lake.
3) Fishing.
4) Waterfowl hunting.
5) Picnic in the pavilion.
6) Play in the playground.
7) Study the butterflies in the flower garden.
8) Hiking.
9) Biking, rollerblading, or other wheeled activities.
10) Boating.
11) Photography.
12) Look up any of the organizations sponsoring the improvements.

I forgot my camera this time, but will try to bring it next time so I can photograph things to point out why this is becoming such a cool park.

I wondered where the hell they got the money for all this, because it sure isn't from the state or the feds, the lousy deadbeats.  Well, the butterfly garden sign had 4-5 sponsors on it including a butterfly initiative and Pheasants Forever.  The general improvements had a sign up for some Charleston group.  The pavilion had a sign but I couldn't read that one, so it might be the same or different.  I get the impression that I'm not the only person who's looked at modern politics and said, "Fine, fuck it, I'll do it MYSELF!"  Because what used to be just a lake with a loop trail and crappy parking is now turning into a very Terramagne-esque park.  :D
Tags: a little slice of terramagne, community, illinois, nature, personal, wildlife
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