14 Jun A Community Plan to a Recreation Reality: Barton Creek Greenbelt
Barton Creek Greenbelt Informative Map
Do you ever wonder how the trail that you are walking on with all of its signs and mapped routes came to be? Well this summer, I have been able to experience firsthand how a plan for a community green space went from an idea, to a community initiative, to a draft plan, to the very trail that I was walking on. While not all projects are ultimately successful, the ones that do come to fruition take a lot of collaboration, time, and effort.
Through an annual application process, RTCA staff are invited to assist communities, nonprofits, government institutions, tribes and land management agencies on their projects. The RTCA program helps communities all across the country realize their plans of making a recreation area or greenspace. Depending on the scale of the project, RTCA can invest up to four years into a project.
This past week, I was able to view the draft concept plan for the Barton Creek Greenway in Austin. This greenway is an extremely popular and beloved area of recreation for Austinites and tourists alike. It stretches 12 miles through the city of Austin and has access to creeks, waterfalls, a natural spring pool, hiking trails, and more. Although this area has been used unofficially for many decades, the actual plan to designate the land wasn’t drafted until 1992.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the National Park Service RTCA Southwest Office collaborated to create a plan to protect and enhance the features of this unique space. The plan included funding strategies, maps, public use management, studies of water quality, species of special concerns, and much more. It recognized the effort put in by concerned citizens and the community at large. Over the next seven years, 1,000 acres of land were purchased and today the Barton Creek Greenway is a thriving recreation spot.
Barton Creek Greenway Plan Species along the Barton Creek Greenway Fossil imprints on rock along Barton Creek Trail