Tuesday, August 13, 2013
More on Fairy Stone State Park, State Parks in General
Thoreau said you can never have enough of nature. This is true if you have a very busy life, and even if you have a "not too busy" life, like those of us on break during the summer from school with not a lot of money in our pockets. Which makes visiting a state park a great value.
Did you know there was a conference in the 1920s about making state parks a widespread ideal in the U. S.? In the 1930s I know six parks were developed, using CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) help in order to promote visiting nature in the state of Virginia. In the thirties the Smokies, a national park in Tennessee, was also built and promoted. President Roosevelt did his best to give people work (Obama "wants" to do this but the entrenched and negative Republican party now is not allowing it). But state parks serve an important function.
State parks provide a place not too far from home where you can take your family to visit for part of a day or even a weekend, to imbibe in the fruits of the natural environment. When we went to Fairy Stone State Park we weren't totally certain what we would see. But a mother deer tried to make her pretty fawn twins invisible by setting them in high grass in an open area across from a picnic shelter we drove by on the way to our campground. And a squirrel tried to "sneak" around our tent as my spouse had tossed some empty pistachio nut shells in the leave litter near our campsite. Fairy Stone is interesting; in part one side of the camping area there is about a 20 foot drop down from the sites, then it "really" drops down! You don't see those with little kids camping on that side, but we did. And Mr. Squirrel came as close as the other side of the cooking pit with its grill turned up, putting his nose up for a sniff. But there was no food there so he finally decided to run away into the woods.
We saw other bits of nature -- there was many yellow and black tiger swallowtails flitting about, and some gathered on some gravel near a shelter, as though they were sucking up some nutrients from it. At the beach we saw kids have a fun time on these huge, fiberglass (?) animals, beaver, frogs and logs, that little kids could ride on in shallow water. A park ranger said another park, Claytor Lake, had rejected these big toys so Fairy Stone said they would take them. So, they were
"pretend" nature, but a place where they could splash around and watch birds fly overhead and soak up some sun for some needed vitamin D.
State parks are much cheaper than motel and hotel rooms (unless you reserve an air conditioned cabin, which partly defeats the purpose of camping-- what, you don't want sand in your shoes, or water dripping into a corner of your tent from a continuous rain at night? Where is your sense of adventure). They provide a break from the daily routine, a chance to interact with nature, get away from technology (unless you are in an RV with an antenna-- so why bother to come to a campground), go at a slower pace. State parks are a real value. And our tax dollars should support them more. So go out and enjoy one near you.