johnson-creek-trailheadThe Pape Foundation, a local family foundation, has been a long-time supporter of TTF. When the Foundation became a sponsor of the Johnson Creek Trailhead, we asked Mark Pape why the Trail is important to his family and why they support our Trail enhancements.

What’s your favorite spot or route on the Trail?
It’s tough to pick only one. I like the area of the Trail between Barton Creek and MoPac because of the enormous bald cypress trees and also the area on the north side between the I-35 and Longhorn dam. That stretch is usually not crowded, is scenic, and offers some good views of the larger end of the lake.

How long have you been using the Trail? Do you remember how you first learned about it?
I have been using the Trail since 1979 when I stumbled upon it while on a Sunday bike ride my first year at UT. I have ran, walked, pushed strollers and cycled on it since then.

Why is the Trail important or special to you and your family?
The Trail has always represented a place for us to stay in shape, and “get away” to exercise without really going very far. There are a lot of places to run, walk and ride in Austin, but none as scenic or convenient. It’s funny because the Trail is right in the middle of downtown Austin and crosses a number of busy roads. When I’m on it though, I don’t really notice (except for the part on Riverside where there is no Trail – but that’s a future project).

What was your inspiration to support the Johnson Creek Trailhead project?
Johnson Creek seems always to be the busiest place on the Trail, maybe because it is relatively small, and is a starting place for so many. It’s also a space that could use additional improvements and would benefit from a bit of beautification. Based on the results of the Between the Bridges project, we got excited about the possibilities for Johnson Creek.

How do you encourage and teach your children about philanthropy?
At their ages we have tried to lead by example – donating our time and resources to Austin based organizations. The kids are active in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the National Charity League, giving their time through those organizations. As our kids have gotten older, we have begun to get them involved in the grant making process.

As a long time TTF supporter, what would you say to others who are considering supporting TTF or the Johnson Creek Trailhead?
To steal a slogan from Nike, “Just Do It”. TTF is a great organization founded and run by Austinites who care enough to give their time and treasure to maintain and enhance this jewel. There are few, if any, places like the Trail in Texas. TTF has done a great job of leveraging private and public funds to improve the Trail, but there is still so much to do.

Mark, thanks so much for your support and for sharing your story.