Save Barton Creek Association is currently working with multiple stakeholders to build a new trail and entrance to the Barton Creek Greenbelt/Violet Crown Trail. This proposed new trail would begin at the north end of West Gate Boulevard in South Austin, on land that is currently closed to visitors. This new trail will be a destination in its own right and provides an additional entrance to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, alleviating pressure on other greenbelt entrances.
We have moved along to the neighborhood engagement and grant application stage of the project! To donate, please visit our donations page.
Q: What is the current state of this property?
The Shudde Fath Tract was acquired by bond money approved by voters in 1998. It was renamed for Austin activist and centenarian Shudde Fath in 2005. The land borders the Barton Creek Greenbelt and is now being managed as Water Quality Protection Land by the City of Austin’s Wildlands Conservation Division. The purpose of the tract is to protect water quality and quantity, but unfortunately there have been problems of illegal dumping, trespassing, and trash buildup from the highway onto the property.
Q: Who is Shudde Fath, and why is the tract named after her?
Shudde Fath is an amazing woman who celebrated her 101th birthday in January 2017. Her long history of advocacy is well-known in Austin and she continues to serve on the city’s Electric Utility Commission. Shudde also served as the Treasurer for SBCA for 29 years.
Q: What have you accomplished so far?
We have made some big strides in the last year! Since we started, we have:
- Analyzed the benefits and challenges on the property;
- Performed a GIS suitability analysis;
- Conversed with stakeholders, including city departments and neighbors;
- Drafted a preliminary MOU with City Departments and other stakeholders;
- Come of with an initial location for the trail corridor;
- Held stakeholder group walks through the proposed corridor;
- And requested an application with the Neighborhood Partnering Program (Deadline June 1)
Q: What are some of the benefits to having Shudde’s Tract opened to the public?
As we create a new trail on the property, we plan to have volunteers close unsustainable “social trails” that have been created on the property over the years. This will help to protect water quality in Barton Creek and Barton Springs by diminishing broad use of an ecologically sensitive area. We also believe that cultivating stewardship of the land is important to its preservation. With an engaged user and volunteer group, the property will improve from a conservation standpoint. The proposed trailhead is also accessible by public transportation, so we can encourage more users to utilize alternative transit when coming to Barton Creek.
Q: Has this kind of project been tried before?
Yes, the Slaughter Creek Trail and parts of the Violet Crown Trail are built on Water Quality Protection Lands. We are working with some of the same stakeholders to help design and construct Shudde’s trail and will be entering into a signed agreement with the City of Austin that determines our roles in the project. In 2003, the city drafted a conceptual plan for public access for the property, and we’re planning to follow the recommendations in that document.
Q: Where are you in the process?
We have passed the planning and early fundraising stages, and have now begun to work on a grant application with the Neighborhood Partnering Program, set to be turned in for their June deadline. A very important part of this process is making sure we have the approval of the nearby neighborhoods. To this end, we are keeping them informed of our intent for the trail and where we are in this project, and making sure that we are hearing comments and concerns about all levels of the project. In the meantime, we are also beginning the permitting process to build a trail on City of Austin land.
Q: Why is this project important to SBCA?
This project really hits on all three efforts highlighted in our mission. With an active volunteer and user group, the land will be better able to support water quality and quantity. As an educational resource, the land can tell the story of environmental advocacy that’s helped to protect these lands for future generations.
Q: Who are the partners, supporters, and stakeholders in this effort?
We’re lucky to have an engaged group of stakeholders and partners in the project. The City of Austin Wildlands Conservation Division of Austin Water, the Public Works Department, Parks and Recreation have been incredibly helpful and supportive along the way. We are also working with the Barton View Neighborhood Association.
Q: How can the community help?
The community can help by donating to support the project, or by volunteering at trail building efforts. Stay updated on our website for upcoming trail building dates. We are also looking for business sponsors. For sponsorship information, please email us at SBCA@savebartoncreek.org.