For my walk, I again returned to the lake that I visited for the first assignment. As I walked around the lake, I noticed how, despite seeming like a completely natural refuge from the suburbs, everything about the lake is artificial. The lake itself is man-made; in addition to being a county park, I believe it’s a collection point for runoff water. This makes it a man-made “natural” solution to a man-made problem – our roads and sidewalks disrupt natural ecosystems, so we create an entirely new one to protect them.
You can see hints of its manufactured construction as you walk around – there’s a sign that warns you to keep on the trail because “this area has new native plantings to provide habitat and food for pollinators, birds, and wildlife.” Some of these plants are even protected by miniature fencing, a weird construction where nature needs to be protected from itself.
The lake and associated park also has the role of increasing the property values of the houses that surround it. About two dozen houses have backyards overlooking the lake – these homes sell for about 12.5% more than homes in the same neighborhood without a lake view. But because the lake is man-made, it floods whenever there’s a heavy rain, so the houses are safely isolated from the lake. They’re perched up on a hill about 500 feet away from the water, ensuring nature does not get too close for comfort.