To be honest, I really didn’t expect much from my first visit to Red Fox Meadows Natural Area. It’s located at a busy intersection that I’ve passed by dozens of times in the past year alone, and from the car, it doesn’t look like much more than a parking lot, a restroom, and a nice fence. Not that I don’t appreciate a good fence, but all in all, the area didn’t inspire me to stop. I also had my secret suspicions about the existence of the so-called meadow.
But I decided I should go and see for myself. As my older son and I strolled along, enjoying the late sun of a February afternoon and chatting about his upcoming history test, we discovered that Red Fox Meadows extends well beyond the parking area. The easy trail covers about a mile, running alongside and across a canal and a drainage ditch. Dogs are allowed here, and we saw a couple of them taking their people out for walks. And as far as this meadow business goes, the grasses are winter-brown now and the trees are bare—and, no, we didn’t see a fox—but the area is still a lovely little respite in a rather unassuming place.
Along with giving humans a place to recreate, Red Fox Meadows has an outdoor classroom boardwalk for educational programs; provides habitats for wildlife; and is an important part—several years in the making—of the city’s flood management plan. Although it has been so dry here that a flood seems unlikely in the near future, Mother Nature may have other plans. It wouldn’t be the first time.