A Jogger’s Paradise or Big City Hell?
The Trinity Strand is one of Dallas’s newest paved trails. It follows Turtle Creek on the south side of I-35 through the Dallas Design District. This was the original route of the Trinity River and used to go by the nickname “Old Meanders”. Over the course of the last year, I’ve walked, hiked, or jogged this trail almost every day.
The Strand has immense potential to become a beautiful Dallas landmark. In the spring it is blanketed with wildflowers. It passes behind some iconic Dallas restaurants including Ferris Wheelers, an outdoor barbeque and music venue that features an old ferris wheel that gets lit up at night. You will pass colorful murals, microbreweries and taco stands while enjoying a nice view of downtown.
What I love most about the Strand is that it’s a surprisingly good place to see animals, including hawks, herons, rabbits, opossums and nutria. In such a huge metropolitan area it is a rare treat to be able to interact with wildlife. Watching the local nutria is so much fun that I created a short nature documentary about them. (Animal lovers should definitely watch!) The little critters are pretty brave and curious about about humans, and will swim up to me on days when I don’t have the dogs.
However, the Strand has a less-than-peachy reputation due to several major issues.
Homeless people. The homeless who camp out on the Strand are pretty friendly and have never posed any type of threat in the time I’ve been here. My dogs even trust them. And at least it’s not as bad as the Turtle Creek Trail, where the homeless scream obscenities at passersby. The homeless population in Dallas is exploding and, as a problem that affects everyone, will need to be tackled in the near future.
Trash. The Parks Department seems to be unable to keep up with the trash cans, which are constantly overflowing. Trash also flows down the creek, having been swept up from all parts of the city. A few times it has gotten so bad that Ethan and I went on cleaning sprees. We drag the wagon out to the trail and stuff trash bags which we then haul back to the dumpster. Sadly, hours of cleaning barely makes a dent. The job is just too big for two people to handle.
Power Mowers. The city’s idea of landscaping is to send out a power mower to destroy every plant and animal in sight. This spring, all the lovely wildflowers got chopped into smithereens. There are ground-nesting birds in the area, so after the power mowers come through we find shredded-up dead baby birds scattered all over the place. It’s horrendous. Neighbors and local businesses constantly write to the parks department asking them to figure out a better solution, and they have yet to do so. And since they don’t clean up the trash prior to mowing, the mowers chop up all that trash into tiny pieces that are very difficult to pick up.
I really hope that the city and parks department can get their act together so that residents and visitors can enjoy this trail to its maximum potential in the future. I love that Dallas is adding trails; now they just have to take the next step and learn to take care of them.