What a year! Despite the challenges and setbacks that 2020 brought, our community’s support helped The Trail Foundation accomplish so much to benefit both Trail users and our local ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of those accomplishments.
As an inaugural project from the 15 Projects selected for our 15th anniversary, Brazos Bluff adds a much-needed stopping point along the Trail. Before, the parkland adjacent to the Four Seasons was steeply sloped, causing significant erosion of the Trail and the riparian edge when it rained.
Designed by Pharis Design, this project addresses the stormwater that flows across this site in an aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sensitive manner that prevents further erosion of the Trail and the lake edge. It includes a deck along the Trail for users to gather or rest while protecting the existing shade trees’ sensitive roots.
Festival Beach Restroom
The Festival Beach restroom, which was identified for replacement in the Holly Shores Master Plan, is one of the 15 projects The Trail Foundation announced in honor of its 15th anniversary. This project replaced an existing inadequate facility in Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park at Festival Beach, east of I-35.
The old wastewater line had developed sags that caused backups in the Heron Creek Restroom facilities, but in Spring 2020 TTF and Austin Parks and Recreation installed a new line to fix the problem.
This year we finished installation of two new Woodland Expansion Projects at Lamar Beach and Longhorn Shores. These projects benefit both trail users and the surrounding ecosystem, as they support the wildlife and biodiversity of the area and provides a cleaner, greener environment. The area now provides a half-acre of new habitat for wildlife.
East Avenue Rain Garden
Rain gardens offer numerous benefits such as reducing erosion, treating polluted storm water, and providing food, water and habitat for various species of wildlife. This project has greatly decreased the erosion of the downhill section of Trail.
With the help of Texas Conservation Corps, TTF installed a series of three floating wetland structures off the coast of Lakeshore Park to provide space for wildlife habitat and aquatic plantings. These wetlands also play a role in carbon sequestration, water quality improvements and temperature regulation.
Eco Volunteer Program
Despite having to suspend our volunteer programming for much of the year, 1,478 volunteers helped plant native trees and grasses and seed wildflower meadows along the Trail in 2020!
When our in-person volunteer events had to be cancelled, we were left with hundreds of unplanted saplings. TTF’s conservation team delivered the native saplings to the first 500 people who signed up and then provided an online planting tutorial about how to care for the trees.
Virtual Summer Camp
This summer TTF partnered with Fire Scouts to provide an at-home learning experience that also encouraged time outside through outdoor work sessions. Activities focused on local plants and animals, “bushcraft” wilderness skills, and nature-based arts and crafts.
Trees of the Trail Scavenger Hunt
The Trees of the Trail scavenger hunt offers a new way to explore the 10 miles of the Roy and Ann Butler Trail! Our virtual and printable maps offer clues posted at various historical and notable features of the Trail and you’ll discover unique trees and learn about Austin history and native plant life along the way.
Music on the Trail
In October, TTF launched the inaugural Music on the Trail series bringing some of Austin’s most beloved musicians to the Trail for popup concerts. In just two months we featured 22 artists and reached over 10,000 passerby on the Trail.
Yoga on the Trail
This fall we safely hosted three socially-distanced yoga classes for all practice levels at Vic Mathias Shores.
The Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run went virtual for the first time, and Twilight on the Trail was significantly altered to safely accommodate guests in three separate shifts. Despite these pivots, both events were a great success for TTF!
This work wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our amazing donors, volunteers, and supporters. Stay tuned for what’s in store for 2021!