Sometimes when I got off work at the RedCross chapter early, I’ll swing by Brown Island to get my outdoor fix. I might grab some coffee and listen to some tunes on a bench, just slowly admiring the pristine flow of the James River. It is quite impressive that there can be a quaint piece of nature like the Brown Island tucked away in the urban heart of Richmond. It promotes recreational activities and for people to get out. You can always find several others walking their dog and/or going for a running. However, deep down, the Brown Island isn’t really a true piece of frontier as portrayed by Cronan. It is an artificial island manipulated for the enjoyment of the urban dwellers such as myself. There is little life in the Brown Island and the water is relatively shallow and slow moving. The area is littered with several structures that detract from its natural presence. It is contained and the grass is flat. I can imagine a lot of sediment and toxic run-off that comes by due to the large hill and proximity to the city. After hearing this, I realized how the Brown Island got its name.
Yet, I don’t want this blog post to simply be a criticism of the Brown Island. It is still one of my favorite spots and definitely offers a different sight to the cityscape of Richmond. As McKenzie states in her blog, people are always in a rush and/or always have something else on their mind. Thus, having this little piece of outdoors is a great way to break that habit and offer a much needed escape. The Brown Island is a central hub of Richmond and hosts many different events and activities such as the Richmond Marathon and the Folk Festival. Its true purpose isn’t to be a pristine piece of nature, but as we discussed in class, a backyard gateway to further appreciation for the outdoors.