Friday, July 31, 2009

Park Cities People reports on construction

Park Cities People newspaper wrote a story about the Katy Trail construction in its latest issue. Click here to read all about it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Forms Being Placed for Snyder's Union

The wood forms that will shape and hold the concrete for the base of the plaza on the Katy Trail overlooking Lee Park are being built now -- well, not while it's raining -- and should be completed by the end of the week. Concrete for the base should be poured sometime next week, barring any more thunderstorms.

Despite all the rain, the contractor on the $1.8 million project, Balfour Beatty Construction, says they have only lost a couple of days work.

The plaza, known as Snyder's Union in honor of the donors Bobbi & Dick Snyder, is still expected to be complete by Thanksgiving. Check out our homepage for a slide show of more construction photos.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interesting adventures along the Trail

As summer comes to a close the kids’ summer camps start to end, but they still need something to do. Why not try geocaching? Even if you don't have kids but are looking for some adventure or a way to get to know Dallas and the Katy Trail better, try geocaching. So, what is geocaching?

Under going a revival in the spring of 2000 in Oregon (due to the Internet), geocaching is commonly referred to as a high tech game of hide and go seek. Participants use GPS or other tracking devices to find or hide small containers (caches) all around the world. Once participates have located or hidden the caches they can place the information and stories of their adventures online. Despite the international hunt only gaining in popularity nine years ago, there are over 800,000 cashes world wide. So the staff of the Friends of the Katy Trail thought they would see just what's hiding on the Katy and the surrounding neighborhoods. Check out the geocashing Website to discover all the adventures you can have.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making the Temporary Trail Safer

In an effort to help you get past the $1.5 million construction project on the Katy Trail even easier and safer, the Friends of the Katy Trail asked Balfour Beatty, the contractor on the job, to widen the temporary trail a little near the TXU/Oncor tower. That work was completed on Monday, and a center strip was painted to also make it clear to everyone where they should travel around this zone.

The construction area is located between the bridges over Lemmon Avenue (eastbound) and Hall Street. It is scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving.

Speaking of thanksgiving, thank you to all the donors who helped make this project possible, as well as all the members of the Friends of the Katy Trail who make an annual contribution that helps pay for the lighting and drinking fountains. If you use the Katy Trail, but are not a member, please become one today by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rails to Trail Conservancy named one of the beneficiaries of Brita Climate Ride 2009

Last year, the first annual Brita Climate Ride took place, starting in New York City and ending in Washington, D.C. The five day, 300-mile ride takes over a hundred riders through the wonderful scenery of America to emphasize how bikes can become an alternate form of transportation. The five day event also has presentations from people who consider the environment something very important. This year's event is held September 26 through 30.

As well as helping the environment the Brita Climate Ride has some exciting news - this year a portion of the money raised will go toward Rails-to-Trail Conservancy which is one of the organizations that helps the Friends of the Katy Trail.

As well getting to meet amazing people and getting to see wonderful places through out our country, the Brita Climate Ride is sponsoring a wonderful group of people to come talk to the participants, including:

  • Colin Beavan, "No Impact Man": Featured at the Sundance Film Festival in the documentary No Impact Man, Beavan maintains a very popular blog about reducing his impact on the Earth.
  • Alison Gannett, world champion free skier, Patagonia Ambassador, founder of the Save our Snow Foundation, and star of Warren Miller ski films: In her free time, Alison converted the first solar-powered SUV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in the world to get 100-plus miles per gallon. This amazing athlete and climate-change warrior also leads ski expeditions to Bhutan, Bolivia, India and Pakistan to document climate change.
  • Josh Dorfman (a.k.a. the Lazy Environmentalist): Dorfman has a new show coming out on the Sundance Channel, and he will also return for his second year to show that he can ride 300 miles without training (!!)

If you are interested in joining people all over the nation for the Brita Climate Ride check out their Website and help spread the message that our climate is constantly changing.

Turf Suffers During Summer Heat

Just like your yard, the Katy Trail has to deal with keeping our plants looking nice during this summer heat. Although this week has been wonderful with the weather, our plants are still thirsty and tired. Unfortunately, with the heat some of our grass is turning a lovely shade of brown. "Why?" you may ask.

Well, the first thing we check is the nozzles of our sprinkler systems. Sprinklers are spaced out so the water from one reaches another, thus creating an overlap in water and support for the plants. If this goal is not being achieved with the sprinklers, this maybe part of the issue.

A second issue that maybe causing the browning of the turf is a small, black bug called the chinch bug. These bugs have a white or grey spot on their backs and are most commonly found eating the green edges of a brown patch. One of the best ways to control them is with Orange Oil.

A third issue turning turf brown maybe a fungus called Brown Patch. The best way to control this fungus is to water later in the morning so that the ground cover does not remain uncomfortably soaked through out the day. If the fungus as already started to grow, organic fungicide is the best way to help scale it back.

Speaking of bugs, when you are gardening or enjoying nature this month and into the last days of summer, look out for Bag worms in Junipers and Bald Cypress Trees. Also, keep an eye out for leaf spots on roses, lace bugs on azaleas and Boston ivy, and scale on hollies, magnolias and crape myrtles.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans Gain Momentum

Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce, a prominent journalist and urban thinker, recently focused his column on the need for improved bicycle and pedestrian connections in our cities. The column, titled "Biking and Walking: Our Secret Weapon?" highlighted the need for our country to stop building roads and bridges and instead spend more effort, and money, on building complete streets. Reasons to do so, Peirce said, include:

  1. Addressing the country's obesity epidemic
  2. Cutting down the amount of gas we use
  3. Reducing the amount of carbon we release into the air
  4. Improving the safety of our streets
  5. Making better connections to public transportation
Of course, the Friends of the Katy Trail has been trying to address these issues as well by completing the Trail, making more public access points so more people can use the Trail, and making connections so the Trail becomes a viable option for transportation as well as recreation.

Click here to check out Peirce's full column.

Bench for Don Lucas

Don Lucas, founder of Luke's Locker and a great supporter of the Katy Trail, recently had one of the benches on the trail reserved in his name by hundreds and hundreds of friends. Don was presented the slat to his bench that bears his name during a little gathering on Saturday that was complete with complimentary champagne for those who attended. Thanks to Isaac Gian, shown in the picture giving the bench slat to Don, for leading the fundraising effort.

The bench is located on the north side of Lemmon Avenue if you want to check it out.

Congratulations Don on a well-deserved thank you from your appreciative friends.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Trellis Construction Begins at Snyder's Union

The future trellis at Snyder's Union came closer to reality last week when the drilling rig arrived at the construction site overlooking Lee Park, just south of Lemmon Avenue. Drilling will take place all week and should be done by the end of next week. The entire $1.5 million project, generously funded by Bobbi & Dick Snyder and numerous other Friends of the Katy Trail, will feature benches, a three-tiered drinking fountain, easy access from Carlisle Place and numerous other amenities. Construction will be complete by Thanksgiving. Always check the Friends of the Katy Trail's construction update page and blog for the most current information and images of our construction projects.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More pub about the Katy Trail

The Dallas Morning News published a story on the Katy Trail and our $1.5 million project at Lee Park for the plaza called Sydner's Union, just south of Lemmon Avenue. The article explained to readers how the newest addition will help users of the Trail. To read the whole the article check it out here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Temporary trail ready for use

Those of you who have been on the Katy Trail around Lee Park have noticed the beginning of the newest addition to the Trail. Crews have started clearing the shrubbery to begin construction for Snyder's Union, a plaza overlooking the Park below. A temporary trail is in place to take you around the construction and ready for you to use. Snyder's Union is scheduled to finish in November.
Thanks to Bobbi & Dick Snyder, who donated more than $1 million for this project, and all the many supporters who stepped up to help meet their challenge grant.If you have questions about the construction project, please call the Friends of the Katy Trail at 214-303-1180 or e-mail us at

Katy Trail bridge over Mockingbird

One of the most common questions we receive at the Friends of the Katy Trail is when the Trail will be extended out to White Rock Lake. We recently picked up the latest rendering of the bridge over Mockingbird that is part of this Katy Trail extension.

Before it gets to Mockingbird, the trail will run through Glencoe Park then between Hotel Palomar and Public Storage before hitting this bridge shows on the left. After crossing Mockingbird, trail users will circle around behind the Mockingbird DART station before following the DART line all the way to the White Rock DART station.

Check out the Friends of the Katy Trail's "Trail Tips" section of our website for more details and answers to all your other Katy Trail related questions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trail Removed near Lee Park

As you can see from the photo to the left, the concrete of the trail was removed late last week in the area around Lee Park where the Friends of the Katy Trail is adding a new plaza named Snyder's Union. The general contractor on the $1.5 million project, Balfour Beatty Construction, has installed a temporary trail around the construction zone. The project is made possible by the $1 million gift from Bobbi & Dick Snyder, as well as numerous donations from other supporters.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience as we continue to make the Katy Trail better for you. Construction should be complete by Thanksgiving. For more information on Katy Trail improvements, check out our Construction Page or our Homepage for details.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dedo's Place - Construction Slows

We're not sitting around watching the grass grow. In fact, we're doing quite the opposite -- we're waiting for the grass to die.

Construction of the $200,000 plaza at the north end of the Katy Trail known as Dedo's Place may look like it has stopped; but in reality we've treated the ground with weed killer to get rid of the pesky nut grass that keeps popping up. Once the grass, and any other weeds, are gone, the planting will continue.

Look for construction of the plaza, generously funded by Dedo & Barron Kidd, to be complete by the end of the summer.

Katy Trail Welcome Santa Fe Trail

On Wednesday, July 1 the Santa Fe Trail opened in east Dallas. Although the trail is just beginning, the Friends of the Santa Fe Trail hope this city trail will one day be a wonderful place for neighbors to enjoy the outdoors. Since the Trail's formal opening, the organization is expecting an increase in use, even as the summer days get warmer. With this increase will come more safety measures for pedestrians on the cross streets, making the journey through the Trail more enjoyable. Ultimately the Santa Fe Trail will connect to White Rock Lake and Deep Ellum allowing for an even stronger network of Trails around Dallas.

For the full story check out Santa Fe Trail on the Dallas Morning News' Web site:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lee Park Project Gets Underway

Construction of Snyder’s Union -- a $1.5 million plaza on the Katy Trail overlooking Lee Park and its beautiful fountain -- began early this week. As you move through this section of Katy Trail between Lemmon and Hall over the next five months, you will notice several changes:
  1. The main trail will be removed and a temporary trail will be built to move you around the construction zone
  2. Fences will be installed to keep you from running, biking or skating into the construction zone
  3. Scrub brush will be removed from the hillside between the Turtle Creek pond in Lee Park and the Katy Trail
  4. Construction crews will establish a staging area at the bottom of the hill between the pond and the Trail
  5. Signs will be posted with a rendering of the finished product as well as donors who helped make it possible

Thanks to Bobbi & Dick Snyder, who donated more than $1 million for this project, and all the many supporters who stepped up to help meet their challenge grant.

If you have questions about the construction project, please call the Friends of the Katy Trail at 214-303-1180 or visit our Construction Updates page.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tips for Your Dogs in Hot Weather

After two weeks of near 100 degree plus temperatures, it seems as if we’re already into the warmest part of our summer. Because it feels like Dallas is closer to the sun than any other U.S. city, it's important to consider the stress and strain that warm weather can put on our furry friends who love and use the Katy Trail as much as we do. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind:

  • The right time of day for a walk, run or playtime for you pet is in the cool of the early morning or late evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.

  • Don't let your dog stand on the running trail, which is hotter than the concrete trail. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.

  • Heat exhaustion is often caused by over-exercising or running with a dog during hot weather. Both heatstroke and heat exhaustion can result in brain damage, heart failure or even death in a short period of time. Short muzzled and thick-coated breeds and mixes are particularly vulnerable. Always bring cool water along. To cool off an overheated dog, offer him or her plenty of water, then wet the dog's body and paws with cool water and then fan.

When it’s warm, we are able to sweat and cool ourselves; but our furry friends can only sweat around their paws. In order to cool themselves down, dogs pant. Although this is an effective way for animals to cool themselves, its success rate is limited in confined areas or humid weather. Please pay close attention to your pets at this time of year.

New Trail in Town

If you happen to be in East Dallas or you're looking to stretch your legs on another great Trail in town, check out the newly opened Santa Fe Trail. Click here to read all about it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dog Bag Stations Refilled

Our trusty intern and one of our fabulous volunteers refilled all the dog bag waste stations with bags. Don't forget to pick up after your pooch!