Fort Worth Parks: Plants and Natural Features


* Overton Park and Foster Park  [OVERTON]


* Trinity Park (with notes on the FW Botanic Garden)  [TRINITY ]


* Forest Park (with notes on the FW Zoo area)  [FOREST]


* Tillery Park  [TILLERY]


* Collett Park  [COLLETT]


* Lake Como Park [COMO]


* Rockwood Park  [ROCKWOOD]


* Kelly Park  [KELLY]


         Fort Worth has wonderful city parks.  Almost all of the larger ones are along the Trinity River and its tributaries, where neighborhoods and businesses didn’t develop because of periodic flooding.  Control measures since the 1950’s have mostly eliminated problems of flooding and made these areas more available for use.  Because it follows the major waterways, the park system is essentially “linear,” and a system of hike & bike trails is developing to connect many of the parks (see maps –– FW parks and trails; Trinity Trails; Trinity Trails West; Trinity Trails East).  A list of all Fort Worth city parks, with the address of each and a checklist of its facilities, is provided by the city (allFWparks). 


         Most of the Fort Worth parks have a mix of native trees, some growing there naturally before the park was established, and others that have been planted since, often not native to the area.  In some of the larger parks, small areas of natural woods or natural vegetation have been left undeveloped –– most of these remaining because they are less accessible to mowers or difficult to reach at all because of water.  See examples (so far) of these kinds of tiny ‘preserves’ in Forest Park, Overton Park, and Trinity Park.  Shrubs in the parks, especially along boundary lines, woods edges, and fencerows, commonly are a mix of native and naturalized species.  


        I hope these brief descriptions, with photos and maps, will add a bit to the enjoyment of Fort Worth parks, whether in just walking among the trees or in learning to identify some of the species.  And in the next decades, especially if the native species are gradually replaced by others, it will be interesting to know what the parks once were like.  


Park pages in progress, to be added Spring 2010:


    * updates on Kelly, Lake Como, and Rockwood parks

     * Riverbend Natural Area

     * Saunders Park

     * Trees and shrubs of Fort Worth parks -- photos and notes on the species that occur in the parks, for help in identifying the plants.  



Two natural areas have been formally designated along the Trinity River within the city of Fort Worth –– the Riverbend Nature Area and the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge –– as well as scattered, smaller areas of natural vegetation along the Trinity River greenbelt. 


         The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge (FWNC&R) includes 3624 acres on the northwest side of the city, along Lake Worth just inside the city limits –– an area of “forests, prairies, and wetlands reminiscent of how much of the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex once looked.”  There one can get an ecological perspective of the mostly ‘floodplain’ and ‘river terrace’ woods of the larger parks within the city.  Like the more urban parks, administration of the Nature Center is through the Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Department. 


         Eagle Mountain Park (EMP) is outside of the city –– on the east shore of Eagle Mountain Lake in northwest Tarrant County –– but it’s a wonderful, close-by asset for the city folks.  Most of the park’s 400 acres are natural, maintaining its environmental integrity and watershed value and giving the public an opportunity to enjoy the native plants and wildlife in a scenic setting.  There are hiking trails (trail map), a handicap-accessible overlook, and two large pavilions with informational signs outlining the park’s history, trail system, plants and trees, animals, and landscape.  The park is administered through the Tarrant Regional Water District and was made possible by “generous donations from TRWD, Tarrant County, TXU, AT&T Foundation, City of Fort Worth, Bass Foundation, Amon Carter Foundation, Chesapeake Energy, the general public, and anonymous donors.” 



        Through their connection with the river system, Fort Worth parks are closely associated with the Trinity River Vision Master Plan, which encompasses 88 miles of the Trinity River and its greenbelts and tributaries throughout the Fort Worth area.  The vision is to keep the river “beautiful, accessible, enjoyable, and productive and to make sure it remains a valuable asset for the entire community.”  The Plan addresses issues of the environment, ecosystems, flood protection, recreational opportunities, access to the waterfront, preserving green space, and urban revitalization based around the river.  The conservation portion of the Master Plan is here (TRV Conservation Plan). 


        The Trinity Trails System (TTS) is a planned (and developing) continuous public-access recreation corridor with a multi-use trail (hike, bike, equestrian, and/or nature trails) along the Trinity River Corridor/Greenway in north-central Texas and northward to the Red River.  From the ‘spine’ near downtown Dallas, the completed corridor will run


* west 75 miles to Fort Worth as far as Benbrook and Eagle Mountain Lakes

* southeast 50 miles to the Dallas/Ellis Co. line

* north 125 miles along the Elm Fork to Lewisville Lake and Ray Roberts Lake, then along major highway and rail corridors to Lake Texoma at the Oklahoma border. 


New section of the Trinity Trail

        A newly completed section of the Trinity Trail System runs along Farmers Branch Creek, from the Trinity River to Pumphrey Drive, just northeast of Westworth Village.  [trail map]  The new trail is about 0.8 mile long and runs beside the creek, which has a limestone bottom and a natural waterfall, crossing it at one point by a picturesque bridge.  “The trail, built by the Tarrant Regional Water District at a cost of $260,000, has been open about a month, and many already believe that it is one of the most scenic stretches of the 40-plus miles that make up the Trinity Trail system.    Unlike most of the Trinity Trails, the Farmers Branch Creek trail is not part of a federally protected flood-control zone, meaning trees can hug the creek bank, and hikers can easily amble down to the water’s edge.    For now, seeing the waterfall still requires some effort.  It’s about a 3-mile one-way bike ride, walk, or run from the trailhead along White Settlement Road in west Fort Worth.  A parking lot is scheduled to be completed at the Pumphrey Drive trailhead, near the Naval Air Station’s main entrance, by the end of summer.”  From an article by Bill Hanna in the Star-Telegram, 21 Dec 2009: “A Trinity River gem becomes more accessible.” 



Last update: 21 December 2009

Guy Nesom