Like the deluge that preceded them, the questions never seem to stop flooding in for Cash Anglin.
As the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association’s Vice President of Trails, Anglin has been hit with a near-constant stream of inquiries from eager biking enthusiasts since the storms that pounded North Texas have subsided.
How are the bike trails? When will they be open?
The answers that Anglin gives have mostly been disappointing thus far. As of Friday, nine of D.O.R.B.A.’s 17 bike trails throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area remained closed. The trails at Gateway Park, which are maintained by the Fort Worth Mountain Bikers’ Association, are also closed, and only a small portion of the trails at Mairon Sansom Park are open.
“A lot of people just assume that you have a few sunny days and trails are ready,” Anglin said. “It’s quite the opposite. It takes so much more time, especially after the amount of rain that we’ve had for the trails to dry up, mainly because they’re in the forests in shady areas and not out in the sun. It just takes longer than most people anticipate, without even mentioning the cleanup part of it.”
The cleanup process is not an easy one for Anglin and the volunteers who have assisted.
Debris that was washed onto trails needs to be moved. Entire trees blown over by high winds that now lean or lay across bridges have to be lifted. Trails affected by water erosion must either rebuilt or rerouted.
“It’s hot, muggy and there are a lot of mosquitoes,” Anglin said. “It’s not necessarily fun work, but the end result of getting the trail back and being able to ride again is well worth it.”
The trails that have perhaps been hit the hardest by the storms — Horseshoe and Northshore — both run adjacent to Lake Grapevine, which remains 25 feet above conservation level. Both trails remain almost entirely submerged, and it could be months before they are accessible to the public.
“Optimistically I would say early September at this point,” said Horseshoe trail steward Travis Smith, who mentioned that he has seen intrepid outdoors enthusiasts kayaking his flooded trail. “Once the water does start receding, which is anticipated into August at this point, we then need the water to go down before we can begin to reclaim some of the trails and the damage from the flooding.”
The Army Corps of Engineers, which regulates the water level at Lake Grapevine, isn’t expected to release water there downstream until Aug. 11 in order to prevent further flooding along the Trinity River.
That likely means that many of Lake Grapevine’s boat ramps will remain inaccessible — the only operational boat ramp Friday was located next to Silver Lake Marina — as will many of the surrounding parks and softball, baseball and soccer fields.
Grapevine was forced to cancel its summer recreation softball league because two fields were underwater.
“It’s crazy. We actually have people fishing in them [the fields],” Grapevine’s lake, parks and events manager Randy Sell said. “And again, we discourage that.”
Lake Grapevine itself remains open, but Sell stressed caution for those in boats or on jet skis. The high water levels have left entire structures such as bathrooms, playgrounds, picnic shelters and pavilions hidden.
“We’re discouraging folks, especially with any kind of motorized boats from really being out there,” Sell said. “But if they’re going to go we definitely want them to stay in the middle, away from anywhere close to the shoreline and edges.”