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Salado Creek Greenway North

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The Salado Creek Greenway North was established as the first segment of Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System (HWP Greenway), a system of paved, accessible trails along San Antonio waterways. With the purchase of Walker Ranch Historic Landmark in 1999 and other land acquisitions along Salado Creek, the City of San Antonio has now completed over 15 miles of multi-use hike and bike trails and preserved hundreds of acres of beautiful green space, promoting outdoor recreation and fitness opportunities for area residents and visitors. The trail runs for 15 miles along Salado Creek through north San Antonio, from Huebner Road to John James Park. The trail is ten feet wide and paved in asphalt and concrete, for long-term durability. There are currently eight major trailhead parking areas. Trailheads include such features as wayfinding signage, restrooms, drinking fountains, bike racks, pet waste dispensers, and other amenities. The HWP Greenway was developed by former Mayor Howard W. Peak as an idea to build a "ring” of hike and bike trails around the City of San Antonio. This idea became a shared vision among city leaders to build trails along creeks running throughout the city. First approved by voters in 2000, the HWP Greenway is continuously expanding and is currently 65 miles long; 15 of those miles belong to the Salado Creek Greenway North. The other sections of the HWP Greenway include Leon Creek Greenway and the Medina River Greenway, both of which hold the title of National Recreation Trail. The HWP Greenway is funded by a 1/8 cent sales tax, which voters have approved in three subsequent elections. This funding will allow the City to build approximately 45 additional miles of trail. Historically, the Salado Creekway land was undeveloped and underutilized floodplain property. Development of the trail system has allowed for the city to purchase property to preserve the natural integrity and beauty of the Creek while creating recreational opportunities for its citizens. Salado Creek is rich in riparian habitat and populated with dense growth of beautiful Oak, Cedar Elm, Mountain Laurel, Mesquite, and Juniper trees. The Salado Creek Greenway is designed to highlight the natural character of the creekway land and minimize environmental impacts. The trails are paved with concrete, which has proven to be a sustainable material that endures flooding with minimal erosion and requires minimal maintenance. Trail design also takes into consideration the sensitivity and privacy of adjacent neighbors. As its popularity has grown, an increasing number of adjacent neighborhoods have embraced the trails, with residents often advocating for direct connections from their neighborhoods to the trail system. Safety is an important component of the HWP Greenway System and Salado Creek Greenway. The Parks and Recreation Department has developed best management practices which include: Park Police, Trail Stewards, Greenway Trails staff members, and Trail-watch volunteers. The San Antonio Park Police is a standalone Law Enforcement Agency of the City of San Antonio and is under the direction of the San Antonio Police Department. There are over 170 Park Police Officers that are dedicated to the safety of City Parks and trails trough enforcement of regulations and regularly patrolling the trails. In addition to staff, there are on average 50 active Trail-watch volunteers. Volunteers are required to complete a background check, must donate at least 4 hours per month, and must complete the Trail Watch orientation for an overview of volunteer roles and trail safety from Park Police. To insure that the trails are safe and maintained, Greenway Trails staff members inspect the trails quarterly for erosion issues, broken signage, vegetation overgrowth, drainage issues, and other items that may require attention. Park Police, Trail Stewards, and Trail-watch volunteers are able to submit any graffiti or work orders through the City’s 311 system. In 2010, portion of the Salado Creek Greenway North was dedicated as a memorial to honor Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Morningstar who was killed on the line of duty in Iraq. The memorial is located on either end of a 3,400 foot boardwalk which was built on helical piers to minimize impact to the wetland area along the trail. Upon its completion, the boardwalk was named the “Morningstar Boardwalk” after the fallen soldier. The memorial includes educational signage and a colorful tile mosaic leading to the boardwalk. The most unique trailhead along the Salado Creek Greenway North is located at Tobin Park. It was designed cooperatively between the City of San Antonio and the Tobin Foundation as a memorial to honor local philanthropist Robert LB Tobin. The Tobin Foundation was instrumental in donating over 89 acres of property along the Salado Creekway. The park is unique for its faux bois (faux wood) picnic tables and signage. The park also features a statue of Mr. Tobin, along with educational signage. The City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department is currently in the process of designing the segment that will complete the Salado Creek Greenway connection to the Leon Creek Greenway in north San Antonio. Construction of the trail is anticipated to begin in spring of 2018. The long term goal is to fully connect the northern and southern sections of the Salado Greenway at Fort Sam Houston, and in the south to the San Antonio River. The Salado Creek Greenway North provides space for people of all ages to walk, run, train, bike, skate, and enjoy nature. The trail system is designed to bring communities together. Local organizations, including Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, often volunteer to build benches, signage, or plant wild flowers along the trails. The Salado Creek Greenway North is also a popular venue for 5k and 10k runs. The trail stretches through four of the 10 City of San Antonio Council Districts, connecting many diverse neighborhoods in San Antonio. The Salado Creek Greenway North provides neighborhoods along Salado Creek with walkable access to recreation through the trail system by crossing cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. The Salado Creek Greenway currently provides connections to seven San Antonio City Parks. Trail connectivity among area parks will continue to expand as new trails are developed connecting to historically underserved neighborhoods within San Antonio. The Salado Creek Greenway North has become a landmark within the City of San Antonio. It has brought together people from all walks of life to share in health, recreation, wellness, and community. It bridges the natural environment with the people who live near it and enhances the quality of recreation to the sounding neighborhoods.