Facets of Triad Park
An impromptu game of soccer is one of the many recreational possibilities afforded by Triad Park in Kernersville. (photo by Jordan Green)
Regionalism as a concept gets a lot of lip service from political business leaders in the two counties and three cities that comprise the Triad. But besides an airport and a tangle of interstate highways, what can you name in this area that is actually regional? At least one tangible example comes to mind. The development of Triad Park near Kernersville has been slow going: First proposed in 1966; bonds approved by voters in Guilford and Forsyth counties in 1988 and 1989 respectively; property acquired in 1993; first phase completed in 1997; and a work in progress yet. There is a lot to love in the 426 acres of generously apportioned playing fields nestled in the Piedmont woods, starting with the space accorded by a regional facility that is still not very well known.
Defying an overcast sky on a recent weekend, my wife and I recruited two young friends — 14-year-old Malcolm and 8-yearold Audrey — to try out the offerings at Triad Park. The rock-climbing playground seemed an obvious first stop. The artificial boulders, not more than 10 feet tall and set into a cushiony rubberized floor, presented little challenge to Malcolm, and Audrey proved her determination to eventually surmount the challenges. They were so much fun that we had to return for a second pass before calling it a day.
The pastime into which we threw ourselves most passionately was soccer. With no one else contending for the field, three of us quickly devised a consuming game comprising two strikers and one goalie, with the scoring striker rotating in to the goalie spot. An immediate observation: As a method of entertaining children, letting them chase a ball is hard to beat, while the same activity will quickly remind adults how out of shape they are. Both Malcolm and Audrey are great runners, and similar to bouldering, Audrey proved herself determined to succeed at scoring and blocking.
Triad Park boasts seven sand volleyball courts. During a brief visit on a previous weekday evening, I happened on a group of middle-aged Hispanic men playing a spirited but light-hearted game. It looked like great fun. The kids, my wife and I attempted a game with a soccer ball, which is inadvisable because the ball is likely to cause extensive bruising to the arms. Next time we’re bringing an actual volleyball. Courts rent for $2 per hour.
We walked down a winding paved path to a fishing pond, where we found an elderly gent, cigarette clenched in his mouth, casting a line. The swamp below the pond’s dam reverberated with a high-pitched chirping noise that sounded like tree frogs. The four of us sat at a bench talking and watching the pond. The fisherman wasn’t having much luck. “It’s too early,” he said. “I had to come out though.”
Picnic Shelter No. 1, seating 300 people, features a vaulted wooden ceiling over a concrete apron bookended by a wide stone chimney, which accommodates two generous berths for grills. These could cook some serious volumes of meat. A smaller shelter, also equipped with a grill, accommodates 150 people. Rental rates run from $55 to $130 per day, depending on size and time of week. There are also picnic tables with grills, for which the park website doesn’t list any usage fees.
We didn’t take advantage of any of the trails, but Triad Park provides up to 3.1 miles of paved paths and segments as short as 7/6 of a mile that are advertised for walking, biking and skating. A 1.4-mile unpaved trail beckons to casual hikers. One would assume that all these modes serve more than adequately for running. They meander through the woods and ascend some gentle hills.
Triad Park rents a softball field without bases for $15 per hour. Not having any equipment or sufficient numbers to field teams, we didn’t take advantage of this, but there it is.
The park provides three playgrounds with rubberized floors and everything else you might expect: swings, slides, a bridge, monkey bars and a pull-up bar. Though not quite as intriguing as the bouldering area or as engrossing as soccer play, the playground provided a short period of diversion culminating in a contest to see who could jump the furthest from the swings.
We were leaving the playground when Audrey stopped to read the “rules and regulations” sign. The bottom half, which is closest to her height, reserves space for a Spanish translation. I witnessed Audrey sounding out the words, Se prohiben las bebidas alcohólicas. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. It provided a great opportunity for a quick lesson. Thanks to the leaders of our Triad communities for demonstrating the vision and commitment to provide for the recreational and educational needs of our citizens.