This week, I spent many hours getting wet and dirty in heavy bushwhacking throughout the park property, all in search of the best route for both the south walking trail loop and north walking trail loop. It was fun. Route finding for an ecosystem-oriented sculpture park requires a lot of thought across many factors, some of which compete or interact in various locations. These considerations include:

  • Overall trail layout
  • Interaction with entrance and parking
  • Distance from road noise
  • Provide privacy to neighbors and minimize undesirable views of surrounding homes, all while maximizing the amount of property that can be traversed
  • Save as many trees as possible (I was able to find a route that will likely save almost every tree throughout the entire park, except perhaps for only a few smaller trees)
  • Work within optimum visual corridors between trees
  • Find the best trees to view, while also not getting so close that they will be climbed on or damaged by errant visitors
  • Minimize root compaction from walking and equipment
  • Minimize root damage during trail construction
  • Optimize for distant filtered views of Penn Cove, while also not getting too close to see surrounding waterfront homes or driveways
  • Optimize for near views so that a walker’s forward gaze is directed to appealing spots, and minimize gaze to less appealing spots
  • Provide a sense of meandering, wandering, and pondering through the forest, without straight line point-to-point segments
  • Design for gradual ascents and descents, including curving switchbacks, if needed
  • Consider water flow in heavy rains, especially to reduce runoff and erosion on or around the trail
  • Provide a variety of ecosystems and personalities along the journey, including different types and sizes of trees and vegetation, dense dark forest, open to the sky meadow, fern glens, heavy understory, open ground, and play of light
  • Think in advance about optimum locations and spurs for sculptures, benches, and rest-to-ponder areas

It is a big interconnected jigsaw to ponder in real time.  Sometimes I could make decisions as I was progressing.  Other times, I would need to advance ahead and work backwards to ensure that the overall flow and key points were well connected.  It was a great, refreshing, invigorating, and creative time in the early sculpture forest.

2019-12-24 Marking future north loop trail route with marking tape

Marking a future route for the north loop trail through a more open area of ferns and alder

  • December 2019