Welcome to September and what has been an unseasonably cool week. I recently made a trip to the Town of Wake Forest where I met Director Ruben Wall, Athletics Superintendent Ed Austin and Recreation Program Superintendent Monica Lileton. While in their office, I got to see the graphic they are using to check off the 150 standards of CAPRA accreditation and their Road to Indianapolis!
After visiting a few of their parks, we found our way to E. Carroll Joyner Park. The park is 117 acres and became part of the Wake Forest park system in 2009. This park currently has 33 unused acres and will be the site of a new community center scheduled to come online in 2019. This land was once owned by the Walker Family, and there is a flower garden dedicated to them along with several farm buildings. Just before becoming a park, the property was owned by E. Carroll Joyner and was used as a cattle farm for 35 years.
With no ball fields or playgrounds, it looks like a passive park, but there is so much to do there. With a 1000 seat amphitheater and 171 parking spaces, it is good to have space for overflow parking. The park hosts summer concerts, movie nights and about 20 events each year. There are 3.1 miles of greenway in the park. On the day I was there, outdoor fitness equipment was being installed along the greenway. The park maintenance facility is on the backside of the park, and they have a tree nursery where volunteers grow trees to be used in the park system. Joyner Park is the site of weddings and a popular location for prom and family photo shoots.
There were three things that stood out to me. First was the pecan grove. This area has probably 15-20 mature pecan trees that form a shady area in the park and provide pecans for citizens. The second was an impressive free-standing rock wall with only gravity and well-placed rocks holding it together.. The rock walls are located around the park and compliment the ‘farm feel’ of the park. Lastly, is a natural area that is part of the Butterfly Highway. The meadow is a refuge offering food and shelter for the Monarch Butterfly and Eastern Meadowlark.
And while we were approaching the pecan grove, a young deer couldn’t decide which way to go with us coming from one direction and a young boy coming from the other. With that "deer in the headlights look," it sprinted away, and every time it got to the asphalt greenway, it leaped over it providing smiles and entertainment to us.
If you are in the Wake Forest area, check out E. Carroll Joyner Park for yourself. More information is available at https://www.wakeforestnc.gov/joyner-park.aspx