Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Southwest Nature Preserve, unknown to most residents, is about to be more accessible

Were it not for the sound of unseen traffic humming by on nearby Interstate 20, a hiker walking within Arlington’s Southwest Nature Preserve would swear that they were in the midst of a remote Texas woodland dotted with native oaks and bass-laden ponds.
Indeed, few Arlington residents know about the preserve, though that’s about to change.
The City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department has begun development of the Southwest Nature Preserve, in southwest Arlington. The goal of the development project is to enable public access to environmentally sensitive facilities within the Preserve, and for the restoration and maintenance of the site’s ecosystem and various habitats.
The Southwest Nature Preserve is a 58-acre tract of undeveloped land located just south of Interstate 20 and adjacent to Bowman Springs Drive, in southwest Arlington. The Preserve has one large and two smaller ponds, is home to several significant native plant communities, and has a high bluff located on sandstone outcroppings with dramatic views.
Phase I Development of the Southwest Nature Preserve will involve construction of a new lighted parking lot with 35 spaces and a controlled access entry gate. A new concrete walkway will run from the parking lot to the lower pond. The walkway will lead to a pond side board walk that will feature a fishing pier and built-in benches.
 A terraced outdoor seating/education area will be located off the new walkway and will over-look the west end of the lower pond. New picnic tables will also be included in an area adjacent to the new walkway.
The Nature Preserve has approximately one mile of non-accessible existing soft surface trails that circle the property. Many of the existing trails within the Preserve are suffering from the effects of erosion and will require extensive restoration work. The new renovations will provide hikers a way to access the large pond and the bluff on the west side of the Preserve.
The expected completion date of the project is currently set for May 2013.
(City of Arlington release)

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