The 10-mile-long Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, along with Lady Bird Lake that it surrounds, is located in the center of Austin, Texas, which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
In a city of more than one million, known for its active outdoor life, the popular and heavily used trail has more than four million visits a year. The Trail and lake are considered by many to be the Austin’s most beloved and restorative natural amenities — sources of beauty, pride, history, and health. They are iconic treasures that define Austin’s quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
The Butler Trail was established in the 1970s. Since then, the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department (CoA PARD) has exercised responsibility for operating and maintaining the Trail. In 2003, The Trail Conservancy (TTC, previously the Town Lake Trail Foundation), a 501(c)(3) was formed to enhance the Trail. Since that time, TTC has invested more than $13 million in various improvements to this public asset, most notably the Boardwalk on the south side of the lake.
In 2018, TTC announced plans for 15 additional projects, ranging from restrooms at Festival Beach to the redevelopment at Drake Bridge. In 2019, TTC entered into discussions with the City’s PARD and Watershed Protection Department (WPD) about expanding its role beyond project development to encompass some aspects of maintenance and operations and activation. Toward that end, in 2019 TTC engaged both the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and ETM Associates to consider its vast potential for the future.
In early 2020, TTC committed to the development of this three to four-year Strategic Plan. The plan incorporates input from various consultants, TTC’s board and staff, and representatives of the City of Austin. TTC then developed a Management Plan to implement the priorities articulated herein and publishes outcomes in their annual reports.