I am visiting my parents in Garner, NC this week and visited White Deer Park for the first time.
Beautiful! But, you’re not allowed to use it.
My buddies and I learned how to hike and camp in these woods as kids. We knew them like the back of our hands. The short cuts, the creeks, the rope swing and the tobacco barns. Where there might have been a girl living at a distant cul-de-sac and how long it would take to escape the rock salt of old Mr. Thompson’s shotgun if found snooping on the edges of his peach orchard.
This was our home. Every day, from around 6 years old through high school.
So today, my father and I took my dog through the woods that once were our stomping grounds. Lovely walkways meander through the relatively mature pine and deciduous forest. Small bridges led me across those creeks and where that hay barn stood is now a pleasantly designed patio structure that would be great for a cookout.
Just beyond the parking lot is the learning deck. It boasted a lean design with lots of stone work and panel glass and had a canter-levered deck that solidly allowed for an aerial view of the forest below.
I thought ‘Wow! Garner is really moving up. This reminds me of Denver or Lake Tahoe’, as the clean lines and exposed pine brought me back to another time. I greeted the middle aged gal working the lone desk in the lobby/foyer and peered through a large glass wall/door at 2 people sitting opposite each other in a room probably 60×40. I exclaimed to her how nice I thought it was.
Me – Its great. Its beautiful. This was built recently..! Super! You know, I grew up right here. As a kid I used to run around in these woods. It looks really great, what you guys have done with the place. So, do you guys have wifi here?
Gal – No.
Me – When do you plan to add it?
Gal – We don’t?
Me – (head turn sideways ponder look on face) Ever..
Gal – No. We’re to far into the woods for wifi. (click here to see just how far into the woods it is – map)
Me – Ohh..
Walmart delivery guy walks in. Gal directs attention to him
I walk toward glass wall/door to see what the room is all about
Gal – You can’t go in there.
Me – Me?
Gal – Yes, they are having a meeting.
Me – Those 2 people?
Gal – Yes.
Me – Is there a schedule as to when I might be able to use the room?
Gal – No. You can rent it. You’ll need to call the number in the pamphlet.
Me – So you mean that the general public is not allowed in this room to say, ‘read, write, watch the forest..?’
Gal – No.
Me – Can someone sit outside?
Gal – Yes. I guess (huff..face of frustration)
Me – But not inside this beautiful room?
Gal – Correct (attention directed back to Walmart guy with smirk)
Me – Who does get to use the room?
Gal – We have programs and you can rent it. (hmmmfffffff back to Walmart guy)
Me – Thank you very much.
I guess some parts of Garner haven’t changed. What a pity.
Facility, landscaping crew whose work I witnessed and spoke with, overall park – World class!
Smug attitude and policy of troll bridge keeper – Massive fail!