The Greenbelt Guardians celebrated our 14th anniversary last month by participating in the Austin Parks Foundation’s 15th annual It’s My Park Day event with a soggy workday at the Homedale access.  It was raining on the original March 04 date, so we postponed for a week and ended up working in very similar conditions on Saturday March 11.  22 volunteers braved the elements and put in a total of 75 hours of labor.  We removed a lot of invasives, picked up trash, repaired handrails, weeded and cleaned up the entry trail and packed the granite, did some drainage work just past the kiosk, and continued our rock work in the culvert under the bridge near the flats.  Photos from the workday (and most of our past ones) can be found on our website here: http://greenbeltguardians.org.  We put off a few projects until we have drier conditions and more help, but all in all it was a very successful workday in spite of the weather.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Our next scheduled workday is on National Trails Day, Saturday June 03.  Watch the listserv or the BHNA and GG websites for more details.  You can also sign up for the GG mailing list on our website and get notices from us directly.  We welcome volunteers of all ages and abilities.  From picking up trash and helping with registration to digging out invasives and moving large rocks, there is always something for everyone to do on our workdays!

In other news, the invasives removal work that was funded by grant money that Glee put together from TECQ and other sources has been completed.  Crews from the Texas Conservation Corps worked between the Zilker and Spyglass accesses during January and February to remove large amounts of ligustrum.  When we first started working on the greenbelt 14 years ago, we were allowed to use chainsaws and herbicide, and we did this kind of work ourselves.  Unfortunately, current regulations prohibit that, so we must raise money now and contract that work out.

We continue to participate in the Violet Crown Trail stewardship council and attended a meeting at the beginning of March.  Construction is moving forward on the next sections of the trail from Sunset Valley down to the LBJ Wildflower Center, and a substantial portion is expected to be completed by the end of this year.  Plans are also moving forward quickly to completely redesign and redo the greenbelt trailheads at both Zilker Park and Spyglass.  For those who may not know, the Violet Crown Trail follows the Barton Creek Greenbelt from Zilker almost to MoPac, where it then splits off and heads south to it’s current terminus at Brodie and Hwy 290.  When completed, it will be over 30 miles long and stretch all the way down into Hays County.

That’s all for now, see you on the trail!

GREENBELT GUARDIANS WORKDAY AT HOMEDALE ACCESS

As part of the Austin Parks Foundation's 15th annual Spring It's My Park Day event, we will be working at the Homedale Access, located behind Barton Hills Elementary School, on Saturday March 4th from 9:00 to Noon.
 
Volunteers will be weeding and repairing portions of the stone edging on the entry trail, repairing erosion damage on a small section of the entry trail, replacing a section of wood railing, camouflaging some graffiti, and continuing the work of constructing stone underpinning walls to support the wood crossover bridge along the trail. We will also be doing some terracing and stepping stone work near the trail approach to the large stone flats adjacent to Barton creek. And there is always plenty of trash to pick up after the crowds that assemble to enjoy the flowing creek water.

If you're available to work with us on that day, please go to the APF GetPulse website and register online for our project here.

There will be tasks appropriate for a range of ages and skill sets. We provide team leaders and tools needed for all of the tasks.  Volunteers are advised to bring a water bottle and wear long pants and long sleeves and closed-toe shoes.

We're looking forward to a good workday on March 4th and hoping that you can join us!

Our Greenbelt Guardians group has been busy working directly on improvement projects in the greenbelt, as well as becoming engaged as a member of a recently created group called the Violet Crown Stewardship Council.

On Saturday September 24, in honor Of National Public Lands Day, Stan Ostrum and David Poisson worked with a local band called Hikes to do a clean-up project at the Homedale Trail.

Our last major volunteer workday for this year is scheduled for Saturday November 5th. The Austin Parks Foundation is establishing this date as a fall season It's My Park Day. We plan to do a number of improvement projects at the Gus Fruh Access. We hope to see lots of our BHNA members on the trail that day, along with volunteers from around the city. To register, go the Austin Parks Foundation website here and sign up for the Gus Fruh - Barton Creek Greenbelt project.

The Violet Crown Trail is an ambitious undertaking initiated by the Hill Country Conservancy to provide a contiguous, well maintained public walking trail that starts from the trailhead at Zilker Park and follows the Barton Creek Greenbelt almost to MoPac, where it splits off and continues on to Sunset Valley. Eventually it will go on to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and beyond. It was initially called the Walk For a Day Trail, and is intended to provide public access to our uniquely scenic hill country landscapes, which are primarily found on private property.

The Violet Crown Stewardship Council is comprised of numerous City and County department staff which have responsibilities for the Barton Creek Greenbelt (e.g. Parks Department, Fire Department, Watershed Protection, Park Police, and Park Rangers) as well as volunteer stewardship and adopter groups that provide educational and physical maintenance services (e.g. Greenbelt Guardians, Austin Ridge Riders, Trail Safe Austin, and the Trail Foundation). This umbrella organization offers the rare opportunity to break through departmental silos and narrowly framed responsibilities, to come together and resolve issues that require comprehensive resolutions.