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Take a walk on the wild side at Cross Timbers Trail

Posted Oct. 17, 2017

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The Cross Timbers Trail was reopened by Nature Center Manager Rob Denkhaus, Tarrant Regional Water District Vice President Marty Leonard, Friends of the Nature Center President Chris Smith, Mayor Betsy Price and District 7 Councilmember Dennis Shingleton.

City officials grabbed a pair of loppers and cut a vine — rather than the traditional ribbon — to reopen the Cross Timbers Trail at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.

Recent work made it possible for the area to be reopened to the public. A levee breach occurred in 1990, and the area was inaccessible to the public until 2004. Several subsequent breaches occurred before the trail was closed altogether in 2015.

The area, also known as Todd Island, is the specific geographic feature that netted the center’s Natural National Landmark designation. It is a 3.5-mile looped trail, portions of which follow an old, unimproved dirt road used in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The ancient Cross Timbers forest is dominated by post oak trees. Research conducted in the 1980s indicated that some trees were more than 250 years old.

Todd Island was formed as a sandbar along an ancient bend in the West Fork of the Trinity River, which resulted in the deep sandy soils that in turn led to the development of the sand-loving Cross Timbers forest.

Notable wildlife observed on the island includes wild turkey, whitetail deer, opossum, armadillo, pileated woodpecker, and barred and great horned owls.

The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge is a hidden wilderness of wetlands, forests and prairies near Lake Worth. At more than 3,600 acres, it is one of the largest known municipally-owned nature centers in the United States. The Nature Center was founded in 1964 with a mission to help educate the community in preserving and protecting natural areas through educational programs.

The center features 20 miles of hiking trails and is home to a resident bison herd and prairie dog town, as well as numerous indigenous wildlife species.

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