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Nature Center named Lone Star Legacy Park

Posted March 4, 2016

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people in field
Fifth- and sixth-grade students in a summer program catch grasshoppers on the prairie at Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. (Photo by Troy Mullens)

The jewel of the Fort Worth park system received special designation as a Lone Star Legacy Park by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society.

A Lone Star Legacy Park is one that holds special prominence in the local community and the state. To qualify for consideration, the park must have endured the test of time and become iconic to those who have visited, played and rested on its grounds. Nominated parks must at least 50 years old and must meet at least one of these criteria:

  • The property represents distinctive design and/or construction.
  • The park is associated with historic events or sites.
  • The park is associated with events specific to the local community/state.
  • The park is home to unique natural features.

The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, at 3,621 acres, is the largest property in the Fort Worth park system. It is also one of the largest municipally owned nature centers in the nation.

The park contains a visitors’ center, a 20-mile natural surface trail system, a small conservation herd of plains bison, a prairie dog town, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-certified paddling trail, a quarter-mile-long boardwalk (currently closed for reconstruction) and a bird blind on the main channel of the West Fork of the Trinity River.

“Few other cities in Texas or, indeed, across the nation can claim to have a municipal park of this size entirely within the city’s limits,” said District 7 Councilmember Dennis Shingleton. “But it’s not just any piece of land. It’s a living, vibrant connection to our natural and cultural history that we are proud to call our own.”

Marty Leonard, president of the Friends of the Nature Center, said: “It is a true refuge for all that live there as well as those who come to experience nature at its best and most natural.”

Six Texas parks received the honor in the program’s fifth year. Others were Grover Nelson Park, Abilene; Reverchon Park, Dallas; Kempner Park, Galveston; Hermann Park, Houston; and Johnson Park, Marble Falls.

The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge joins the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as the city’s second Lone Star Legacy Park. The Botanic Garden was in the first class of Texas parks to receive the designation.

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