Dallas – a green space paradise!

The water in the Trinity River is finally starting to recede, and water levels are almost back to regular flow. In part, that’s good news for the surrounding habitat, but also means we have been in a bit of a drought. Let’s stick with the positives for this column and focus on all of that space we will have access to again.

I recently met with The Trinity Trust (thetrinitytrust.org) to find out more about the outdoor spaces available to us here in the big city of Dallas. I was blown away by how much I still have not been to and have not even heard of! Did you know about Crow Lake Park, and the story that legendary Dallas developer Trammell Crow dug the lake himself? I stopped by Crow Lake Park on Saturday, located at 3700 Sylvan Ave., and although the driveway and parking lot are still closed off for now, I was impressed with the beautiful view of the Dallas skyline.

Dallas skyline from Crow Lake Park

Dallas skyline from Crow Lake Park

Or have you been out to Hines Park, the Buckeye Trail, Moore Park Gateway, Coombs Creek Trail or the Goat Island Nature Preserve? All of these hidden jewels are just minutes from downtown and with water receding each day, access to these parks will slowly be opening back up.

The Trinity Trust is working with the City of Dallas (trinityrivercorridor.com), local nonprofits such as Trinity Commons Foundation, companies and organizations to revitalize and bring life to the Trinity River Corridor, a green space far bigger than New York City’s Central Park. They are in the plan, fundraise and vision phase, and their dream plans look amazing. There are all kinds of ideas, such as a disc golf course, skate park, zip line, nature playscapes, basketball courts and soccer fields, and pop-up plazas. And if we get the big floods like we had this year, everything would be designed to withstand the water or be removed. If we lose temporary access to the Trinity River Corridor because of floods, it will most likely be during the hottest part of the year, when most people hibernate in the cold air conditioning anyway.

Project plans also consider better access and trails connecting downtown to the Trinity River Corridor. Dream with me, and imagine walking from downtown to the Continental bridge and below to more park amenities. That current walk or bike ride is nothing but treacherous, but with a dedicated trail like the Katy Trail, that walk could encourage you to take a long lunch break outside.

The best part about all of this is your voice matters. To find out exactly what the Trinity Trust is up to, you can attend one of their monthly Trinity Center After Hours informal open house events. Find out the latest project updates, get a birds eye view with large-scale models and maps, and ask questions and comments of the design process. The next After Hours event is Sept. 8, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Trinity Center located at 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 200.

Upcoming events like the Wind Festival (trinityriverwindfestival.com) on October 24 is a fun way to explore the park and imagine the future possibilities for the green space. Judy R. Schmidt, Manager for Trinity Watershed Management, says the event will be “Wind driven recreational fun of all kinds like Japanese kite making, show kites, wild birds, free kite giveaways, frisbee dogs, and enjoying the freedom of being outdoors with family and friends.”

The Trinity River corridor is also an important place for wildlife in our large urban environment. Dallas is located in the Central Flyway, an important bird migration route from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. Safe areas, like the Trinity River Corridor, are used by birds as stopover points to refuel and rest on their long migrations. As you head out to these outdoor spots in Dallas, bring some binoculars and download one of the many bird apps on your mobile device to spot rare sightings in spring and fall.

I can smell the cooler weather on it’s way in the first morning’s breath. I’m looking forward to kayaking the Dallas Wave on the Trinity River, just south of downtown Dallas and getting out to explore what you wouldn’t expect from a big Texas city: a green space paradise!

As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.

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