Photos available upon request

Media Contacts:
Cathy Mueller
Chris Smith

Public-private project brings together City of Fort Worth, Tarrant Regional Water District, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and Friends to improve historic Cross Timbers Trail
FORT WORTH, Texas (October 6, 2017) ­– The Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge will welcome Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other dignitaries on Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m. to the Grand Re-Opening of the Cross Timbers Trail, which has been closed since 2015.

Cross TImbers Bridge in place

The Cross Timbers Trail, permanently closed since 2015 due to flooding, was often inaccessible in prior years due to levee breaches. Trail improvements included creating an intentional gap in the levee topped with a 79-foot bridge. The levee gap now allows water to move freely in either direction without the destructive forces of floodwaters, while a new pedestrian bridge provides access to the wilder portions of the Refuge.

Nature Center visitors who have never hiked this trail are in for a real treat,” said Nature Center Manager Rob Denkhaus. “This 3.5-mile looped trail features specific geographic elements that netted our Natural National Landmark designation in 1980.”

Friends President Chris Smith praised those joining forces on the trail renovation. “We continue to see more interest and public-private support for wonderful projects like these,” Smith said. “The City, TRWD, Nature Center staff and Friends coming together demonstrate an increasing local desire to preserve and protect our beautiful natural resources, which are so vital to a growing, vibrant region.”


  • Cross Timbers Trail links to Todd Island, land surrounded by waters of the West Fork of the Trinity River in its original channel
  • Trail length is approximately 3.5 miles
  • Portions of the trail follow an old unimproved dirt road used in the late 1800s and early 1900s
  • Post oak trees dominate the ancient Cross Timbers forest
  • Dendrochronology research conducted in the 1980s indicated that some trees were more than 250 years old
  • Todd Island is the Northernmost portion of the Refuge open to the public
  • Soils found in this area are mostly deep sands (typical of a cross timbers forest)
  • Todd Island was formed as a sandbar along an ancient bend in the West Fork of the Trinity River which resulted in the deep sand soils which in turn led to the development of the sand-loving cross timbers forest type
  • Notable wildlife observed on Todd Island includes: wild turkey, whitetail deer, opossum, armadillo, pileated woodpecker, barred and great horned owls

About the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, a division of the City of Fort Worth Parks and Recreation Department, is a hidden wilderness of wetlands, forests and prairies located near Lake Worth. At more than 3,600 acres, it is one of the largest municipally owned nature centers in the United States. The Nature Center was founded in 1964 with a mission to help educate the community in the preservation and protection of natural areas through educational programs. It features more than 20 miles of hiking trails and is home to a resident bison herd as well as numerous indigenous wildlife species. The Nature Center was designated a national natural landmark in 1980 by the National Park Service. For more information, visit

About Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

The Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge was established in 1974 as a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization to help financially support the Nature Center. The organization organizes a variety of annual fundraising events, hosts an on-site gift shop, and offers Nature Center memberships. Contributions have resulted in the purchase and care of the Nature Center’s bison herd and other ambassador animals, the acquisition of kayaks and canoes and funding for other capital improvements. For more information, visit


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Spending time with people who love nature creates priceless experiences; sharing a mission with them generates exceptional satisfaction. Both are benefits of Friends membership. This award-winning organization is a strategic force in keeping the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge an exciting and innovative place to visit in our fair city.

To preserve, protect, and conserve in perpetuity the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.

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