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Mar 31, 2008



Anyone know the status of the Mockingbird Extension? It is supposed to connect the North end of the lake with the Katy Trail. Last I heard, construction of Phase 1 was supposed to be completed July 2008 but I haven't seen or heard of any construction actually started.

The East Dallas Veloway was supposed to have started Dec 2006 so perhaps I shouldn't get my hopes up for riding the Katy Trail to work anytime soon.

Norman Alston

"I think that's fantastic. Dallas needs more green space," said Stanley Brunson, who was taking a walk on a recent afternoon. "I mean, it's concrete everywhere."

Excuse me? More trails mean more concrete, not less. We're not tearing up 40 foot roads, we're putting in 12 foot trails that typically meander through previously green spaces. Does this article not say that we're filling in a bit of the lake to accommodate both a trail and the parking? One need only look at what was done just south of the Mockingbird Dog Park a couple of years ago to see what this means. What had been a very beautiful, very natural area surrounded on 3 sides by the lake is now cleared, mowed and paved. I guess that works if your idea of green space is someone's manicured back yard.

Personally, I'm a hiker. I have come to really appreciate the ability to walk in more natural, secluded areas around White Rock and not have to go out to a State Park. These more natural, unimproved areas have always coexisted with the trails and the other recreational areas. However, I am watching them disappear at an alarming pace for the sake of the kinds of improvements described in the story. The idea of coexistence doesn't seem to come into play. Neither does the idea that one can enjoy green space without doing so from a 12 foot wide mini-road.

And no, I am not a coyote.

monty watson

Friends of Santa Fe Trail was recently formed to support the hike/bike trail running from the Spillway to Exposition Park (between Deep Ellum and Fair Park). Anyone who wants to be involved should email me at ktmonwatson@yahoo.com.

Norman, the Santa Fe Trail will introduce people to a gorgeous stretch of White Rock Creek that should end up having great hiking paths away from the paved trail. I think you will really enjoy it.

Our trail through east Dallas will have an east Dallas flair. We hope to incorporate works by local artists and will emphasize native plants and bird habitat. Please join us and play a role in shaping this terrific resource for east Dallas!

Norman Alston

Monty, I am a Hollywood Heights resident and have been hiking that stretch of rail right-of-way for years now, all the way from Glasgow up to where it dead ends into Garland Rd. I have fabulous photos of autumn color along that route and pictures of the big trestle in late evening sun.

There is the abandoned historic railroad trestle that I have to cross under. There appears to be a natural spring near Santa Fe and Valencia that is channeled into the rail right-of-way. There it forms a long, lazy pool of clear, cold water that works its way from the Monte Vista/Brookside bridge towards Lindsley Park where it goes underground somewhere. My dog loves to drink from it. It's there with cold water year round. The road bed is already improved by the rocks left from the railroad. It's a permeable, low impact, all weather surface that is mud free during and after rains. I sometime will walk that trail at night under an almost full moon. I have to wait for the moon because it's really dark down there, an unusual problem this far into the city, but the moonlight on the otherwise unlit trail is beautiful. As it is, I can sometimes get a glimpse of the two very large owls that hunt along the Santa Fe, probably because of the numerous Cotton Tails and Possums.

My concern is that it's accessible, beautiful and used just as it is, just not to the trail enthusiasts. I haven't seen the specific plans, but judging from what I've seen at other trail projects, I expect almost everything I listed above to be destroyed. The abandoned trestle will be removed as a safety hazard, the spring will be put in a pipe below ground, the permeable road bed will be paved over with concrete because as is it's only good for walking, not bicycle tires or strollers, and then only after the mound is lowered to make the sloping sides less so. Lights and benches and trash cans and artwork will be added, so the moonlight effect will be diminished. The rabbits will probably decrease or leave, and with them the owls.

Trails are good, but I get disheartened at the one-size-fits-all mindset. We've adopted the same attitude about trails that we complain about with roads. What we have now will be lost, replaced by what's coming and no amount of local artwork or one-of-a-kind benches will offset that. I'll miss what we have when it's gone.


The section of trail near the Brookside/Monte Vista bridge already has a very nice mural of "local artwork".

My dog loves the cool natural springs and I can let him run loose without any worries.

Regretably, build the trail and all of that will change. My dog will have to be leashed, the path will have to be "handicapp accessible" and the local artwork will be stale before the paint dries.

monty watson

While the spring will remain thanks to neighbors getting involved, if you would like to be involved and to shape what direction we are headed, please do. We would love to have people just like you - people with a real interest in our community and in making it better.



I appreciate the invitation Monty, but I think i would be a hinderance.

You see, I would be against doing anything. I want it to remain the way it is!

I don't want anymore people knowing about the trail. I don't want it to become more "accessible." I don't want it improved.

Let it be.

Norman Alston

I feel exactly as Robert feels, except I believe that the trail is inevitable. It's been up on the radar far too long and there are already developers spending money to take advantage of it. Therefore, I would appreciate an opportunity to work within the system to try and preserve as much of the natural beauty as possible.

Monty, you can click on my name at the bottom of this comment. It should take you to my website where you can either email me at the info email or call me on the phone number listed. I would like to know about upcoming meetings.


Hm, some of these comments seem to be coming from some very uneducated folk, or people with a very bad case of NIMBY. First of all, you so-called "hikers" apparently don't know anything about the hiking trails in the GTF- We already have several miles of pristine nature trails..... No, the abandoned trestle will not removed..... Dogs in urban areas should ALWAYS be leashed no matter what (some people really have the idea that public space is their own personal space; it's not- you want to run your dogs? Fine, go buy some property in the country and fence it- wide open spaces ended with the advent of barbed wire).....

AND, all trails are not equal and all users are not compatible. There needs to be a diversity of trail uses in any URBAN environment. You want nature trails to be put in undisturbed areas and be soft surface and have many meanders and points of interest and places along the trail to listen to nature and get a true sense of being in the wilderness. These are soft-surface trails and most of the more "green' types would prefer to see these trails no wider than tree feet. Unfortunately, these trails also get the least use and, as a result (soft surface,few users, and usually in hard-to-get-to areas) require the most maintenance.

Then you have the mountain, or "off-road" bikers. These trails should also be soft surface, in mostly disturbed areas, have a number of obstacles, such as hills and rocks, etc. You don't need a wholly natural setting, and again, should be in already disturbed areas. You don't need a lot of historic trees or rare birds to look at as a "feature" of this type of trail. It's soft-surface because that's part of the challenge of these trails. Also, keep in mind, we're talking about an urban setting, not the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Nature hikers and off road bikers should not occupy the same space. They also tend to volunteer time to maintain the trails.

Then there are the trainer cyclists who use bikes with tall, thin tires. These must be used on improved surfaces. These trails need a lot of distance, so either they try to hike in traffic and take their lives into their own hands, or we need to find ways to connect these hards surface trails with one another. These trails should be in inner-city areas, where there is already a multitude of concrete roads, alleys, streets and sidewalks. Runners and trainer cyclists can use these trails. These are expensive and take time to plan and construct but also get the most users.

Then there are horse trails, which need to be specific use. And I am going to catch a lot of flak for this when I propose it, but the off-road, or ATV, users also need a place to go, otherwise they will seek out areas where they do NOT belong.

We will have all-of-the-above in the Great Trinity Forest.


I realize some people like things the way they are, but trying to stop what most people would consider progress is not really "progressive." Dallas is way behind other major metropolitan areas when it comes to public parks, trails, and outdoor facilities. With the coming Trinity River Project, Downtown park development, expansion of the Katy Trail, and updates to White Rock Lake we are finally starting to invest in our city's outdoor potential. This is a good thing for thousands of people who like to exercise, play with their pets, and get their children away from the TV. Coming together on this issue will only help Dallas get to where it needs to be quicker and make the coming changes more beneficial to everyone, except those who don't think change is needed.

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