The Meadow Bridge is used by dozens of Laredoans on a daily basis, but there is something that sets it apart from other infrastructure in the city. Valerie Gonzalez-Sanchez visits the park as the sun sets and shows us how the sky near this seemingly ordinary bridge transforms before your very eyes.
It’s the road less traveled. Welcome to Chacon Creek Hike & Bike trail. "We have creeks, we have a lot of water, we have a lot of greenery." With its lush fertile land, its winding trails, and its serene waters it’s no wonder it’s attracted flora and fauna alike. “You can bike here, you can walk here.”
Take a walk on the wild side; Chacon’s Meadow Bridge offers a special seasonal activity, bat watching. It's something done in Austin, and San Antonio, and now, it’s something the councilman of district III wants Laredo to experience. Councilman Alex Perez says, "If you go to Austin, they actually feature bats under their bridge; it's a big tourist attraction. It's a place where a lot of people go to see the bats. They sit down at dusk and you see all the bats fly out."
It’s a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature, but it can also be an educational experience to challenge any misconceptions about this furry flying creature. Dr. Vaughan assures us: "Are bats going to try to get in your hair? No, no. They can see, they do have eyes. They are not blind."
Biology professor Dr. Tom Vaughan says these bats are seasonal tourists who fly south for the winter, but sometimes end up staying for an extended period of time. If you decide to visit these bats he does have some advice: "First thing, they ought to be quiet. [You] shouldn't get too close from where the bats are coming out of the roost."
The best thing to do if you come across a bat that's not exactly acting itself, is really to stay away. It could be sick and it could get you sick too. "If you ever see a bat on the ground or on a window screen or some place like that in the daytime, you know that's not normal bat behavior, there's something wrong with that bat."
Yet, improvements are coming to the park: “We're actually going to put placards, we're going to post information on the bats. This is going to be an open-air classroom. That's what we're hoping to do here."
For the meantime, let the untamed beauty envelop you in an experience you won't soon forget.
Valerie Gonzalez-Sanchez, KGNS News, Coverage you can Count On.
Councilman Alex Perez says the improvements also include connecting the bike and hike trail through South Laredo ending at the Haynes Recreation Center by Clark Boulevard. If you would like to see the flight of the bats, the best time to do so is about a half hour before the sun sets.