The City of Austin Works on Providing More Trails

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Under the canopy of trees seen from the highways and just out of sight along the busy streets are some of Austin's hidden treasures, and the city is about to add another one.
This fall ground will be broken for phase 1 of a new hike and bike trail to be called the Walk for a Day trail.
This approximately 35-mile trail will wind its way through parks and neighborhoods from Zilker Park to Kyle.
Completion of the whole project is still a good five years away, maybe even ten years if funding bogs down.
But work on phase 1, which will connect existing trails between the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the City of Sunset Valley, will hopefully be completed by next spring.
The price tag for phase 1 alone is $250,000.
According to the Community Impact Newspaper, the project's main funding and planning comes from the nonprofit Hill Country Conservancy preservation group.
"George Cofer, HCC executive director, said phase 1 will allow people to enjoy miles of trail even while work continues on subsequent phases.
" This project has been in the works since November 2007 and combines the efforts of the HCC with Austin Parks and Recreation Department, American YouthWorks, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Austin Ridge Riders, as well as other individuals.
According to the Austin-American Statesman, the project has received a $200,000 Recreational Trail Grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as well as $50,000 from the Hill Country Conservancy and $10,000 from the Austin Parks Foundation.
Most of the labor for the project will be volunteers, starting with a special work day coinciding with National Trail Day on June 6.
Salt Lick Barbecue will be provided for volunteers and swimming is free all day at Barton Springs Pool.
The workday along the Barton Creek greenbelt is from 8 to 11:30 a.
m.
An interesting component of this project is its connection with American YouthWorks.
The local organization is using its Environmental Core Program to connect at-risk youths with the environment.
HCC has hired the nonprofit to provide labor for the trail project.
This will provide an opportunity for the youths ages 17-27 to learn job skills while connecting with nature in their community.
Working on the project will give the young people experience with high level skills such as masonry work, erosion control and conservation efforts.
The hope is that the Walk for a Day trail will someday join a network of trails through several Texas counties.
The $7.
5 million project has the potential to allow people to leave their cars behind and hike or ride to all kinds of fun destinations throughout the Hill Country.
Imagine packing up in the morning and taking a hike to Barton Springs Pool for the day or hiking to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to spend a beautiful spring day.
"This is going to be one of the best trail systems that was ever built," Cofer said.
"It's a big deal.
"
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