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The San Antonio City Council voted Sept. 6, 2012, to name the greenway hike and bike trail system for former Mayor Howard W. Peak, chairman of the Linear Creekways Advisory Board, and a long standing advocate who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the greenway program since its inception.
Forty-one miles of developed greenway trails are now open to the public. The Linear Park Development Program for Salado Creek, Leon Creek, Medina River and the San Antonio River is funded through sales tax approved by voters in 2000, 2005 and 2010. Approximately 1,200 acres of property along San Antonio Creekways have been acquired for the program since its inception.
Former Mayor Peak began formulating the idea of a "ring' of hike and bike trails in flood zones along city-owned creeks while working in the Planning Department and while serving on the Zoning Commission. As a City Councilman representing District 9 from 1993 to 1997, he partnered with Councilman Lyle Larson to purchase the land which began the trail system in Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park.
As mayor from 1997 to 2001, he solidified his vision of hike and bike trails along Leon and Salado Creeks and won citizen support to dedicate one-eighth of a cent of the sales tax to begin development of the trail system in partnership with the Edwards Aquifer Program.
The sales tax initiative approved by voters in 2000 raised $20 million, enough to fund 11 miles of trails. In 2005, Peak led a campaign to renew the tax for $45 million to add 38 miles of trails and again in 2010, the voters approved the continuation of the sales tax designation to build an additional 30 miles of trail. The trail systems funding to date incorporates approximately 87 miles planned trails in an overall system goal that could ultimately yield 130 miles of hike and bike trails along the creekways.
Completed greenway segments include:
The Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to announce that the Leon Creek Greenway North and the Medina River Greenway have been designated as national recreation trails, joining a network of more than 1,150 previously designated trails that span more than 13,650 miles through 23 states.
The department will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and a set of trail markers.
The recent announcement made by Salazar and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis included the designation of 54 trails as national recreation trails, adding almost 1,400 miles of trails to the National Trails System. The Tejano Walking Trail in Austin was the only other Texas trail honored with the designation.
National recreation trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks. The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
The Leon Creek Greenway North, from Loop 1604 to Ingram Road, features 13 miles of trail among a variety of scenic and diverse natural landscapes that include pedestrian bridges, unique rock features and a large stand of cottonwood trees. The trails also feature connections to O.P. Schnabel Park, Bamberger Nature Park, Cathedral Rock Park, Pearsall Park, Earl Scott Pond, Rodriguez County Park, Wolff Stadium, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and numerous adjacent neighborhoods and businesses.
Hikers and cyclists will find parking at the VIA Ingram Transit Center, 3215 Northwestern Dr.; at the Grissom Trailhead, 7379 Grissom Rd.; and at the north trailhead at Loop 1604 and IH-10.
The Medina River Greenway features seven miles of trail that stretches east from the Medina River Natural Area, located on State Highway 16, south of Lone Star Pass on the City’s Southside. Here trail enthusiasts will find large Cypress, Oak and Pecan trees growing along the flowing Medina River. The terrain is mostly easy, but includes switchbacks with slopes up to 8.3 percent in two locations.
Transit Center Trailhead Wins State Award
The Texas Trails Network recently awarded VIA Metropolitan Transit and the Parks and Recreation Department the Great Texas Trailhead Award at its annual state conference here in San Antonio.
The Great Trail Head Award is given to a public or private entity in recognition of innovative trail planning and design. The award honors the collaborative effort to develop a trailhead at the Ingram Transit Center to connect with the Leon Creek Greenway. The two agencies worked together after VIA acquired the land next to the busy transit center to make the tract accessible to trail riders on Leon Creek Greenway. Now the trailhead provides both transit riders and trail riders seamless access to passenger amenities such as restrooms, vending machines and customer service representatives.
The trailhead portion of the project, overseen by Greenways’ Special Projects Manager Brandon Ross and his staff, includes amenities such as lighting, interpretive signage and maps, picnic tables, bicycle parking and a shade structure.
The Transit Center trailhead is located at the southern end of 13 continuous miles of concrete and asphalt trail beginning at Loop 1604 on the north side and following the creek south to Ingram Road.
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