Thanks to a fundraising effort led by the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has awarded a $200,000 Recreational Trails Grant, which will enhance trail facilities, the center said in a news release.
The Friends raised more than $100,000 in matching funds for the project, including a $54,000 required match by the state.
The grant will fund additional parking, trail stabilization and restoration as well as a trailhead kiosk and compost toilet. The project will take place at the southern portion of the Nature Center’s 20 miles of trails at Greer Island. This area suffered extensive flood conditions during 2014 and 2015 creating the need for restoration.
Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, presented the Friends with a check for $200,000 at an Oct. 10 reception honoring Ralph Duggins of Fort Worth, appointed as Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission chairman earlier this year.
“The Fort Worth Nature Center and TPWD are natural partners in that we share a common commitment to stewardship of the outdoors and clearly understand the importance that nature plays in creating healthier and more fulfilling lives for Texans of all ages,” Smith said.
“The National Recreational Trails Fund in Texas was made for projects exactly like this that provide more access and greater sustainability to facilities that serve as outdoor resources to their communities,” Smith said in the news release.
The Nature Center trails are used by more than 60,000 visitors annually with a growth rate of 6 percent per year, the news release said. The Nature Center’s trail system forms one of the largest and most diverse trail systems in North Central Texas.
“The recreational trail grant is a perfect working model of a public-private partnership,” said Friends board member George Bristol.
“In this case, a federal-state program was established to encourage nonprofit organizations to work with parks and nature centers to provide new and renewed trails for the benefit of Texas, Tarrant County and Fort Worth citizens – especially our children,” Bristol said.
– FWBP Staff