Since 2020, Friends volunteers Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson have made it their mission to do their part to keep the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge pristine. After decades of dumping, a huge pile of old tires and other trash had accumulated along the Canyon Ridge Trail at the Nature Center. Bert and Jaime love to hike the trails at the Nature Center and noticed the eyesore during one of their many outings.
What began as a modest effort to pick up small amounts of trash to carry out as they hiked has morphed into a multi-year project to remove all the tires and other trash from the trail and help return it to its original condition. Several times a year, Bert and Jaime — sometimes with friends — painstakingly remove the tires from the hillside, stack them in a staging area, and then load them onto a trailer to be hauled away by Nature Center staff for eventual disposal. After the project was initiated in December 2020, the first trailer load of tires made its way out of the area on February 25, 2021.
In March 2023, Bert and Jaime, joined by Neal “The Bruce” Heidel and Kyle Clabaugh, made their way to the area once again and removed another 303 tires. Nature Center staff member Haley Parrish drove the truck/trailer and pitched in to help load tires, a major contribution above and beyond her regular job at the Nature Center.
In this short clip, Nature Center staff member Haley Parrish hauls away the first load of the day, with truck tires arranged in the front of the trailer. Video courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.
“We have managed to photograph every single trailer load since that first tire — LOTS of photos! — and have created several videos to document our progress,” says Bert. “You will remember that on one of our previous trips, we removed an abandoned fiberglass boat from the hillside. We now use it as a picnic bench, with plans to pull it out to the road when we get to the end. At the moment, it is no longer visible from the trail.”
As of June 2023, 2,653 tires have been removed. Bert and Jaime estimate they have about 1,000 to 1,500 remaining. In addition to the tires, they are also sorting out glass, plastic, metal (approximately 1,000 pounds worth), and trash as they dig through the mess. They are removing all of it.
“We estimate it will take at least another year to complete,” Bert predicts.