From zero to 72 miles in about 15 years, the Trinity Trails has become quite the attraction for bicyclists, joggers and all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts across Tarrant County.
Sounds like an awfully long trail system. Apparently it’s not. It’s just the beginning.
According to the draft of a proposed strategic plan of the Trinity Trails, that could grow to an impressive 219 miles, closing gaps between 18 cities and along waterways, and creating a tourism mecca as well as economic development opportunities. The trails would run along all 90 miles of the Trinity River in Tarrant County.
For example, the trails would loop completely around Lake Worth and Lake Benbrook. Or, someone in Crowley could get on the trails and make it up to north Saginaw, some 30 miles away, or from White Settlement to past River Legacy Park in Arlington. Eventually the trails will connect into Dallas.
This new plan looks at the Trinity Trails from a regional perspective, which hasn’t been done before, said Stacey Pierce, director of Streams & Valleys, the nonprofit group that focuses its efforts on enhancing the river. The final plan should be ready in May, she said.
“It’s pretty inspiring,” Pierce said. Steams & Valleys raised $450,000 to hire California-based MIG Inc. consultants to shepherd and write the new 10-year plan.
“We’ve had a lot of great river plans, but things change so fast now. Is this very ambitious? No question it is. We want to look ahead to the river we want to have.”
Consultants are in the thick of the planning process, asking for suggestions from groups, city leaders and the public.
Mayor Betsy Price called the draft an amazing plan so far. “It used to be a muddy ditch. It’s a jewel now,” she said of the Trinity River.
One part of the planning will involve a Mapita survey, a mapping tool that lets people put pins in a map where they’d like to see projects happen and what those projects could be, Pierce said.
The plan will include a list of possible projects for each river segment, Pierce said. The projects will focus on the best way to get people to the river, she said.
For example, one proposed project is called the Bomber Spur, a 26-mile loop in west Fort Worth that would connect to the Airfield Falls.
“We’ve more than scratched the surface,” Pierce said, but added, “We’ve set our sights pretty high. We want to think about the economic development on one side, but we also want to think about healthy communities and areas where you can get out and enjoy nature.”