Mar 31, 2021 - 03:08 pm CDT

 

As part of the Arts Responders Program in collaboration with ESB Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin band Güateque Son performs original music in their traditional Veracruz style Mexican outfits, masked, and socially distanced. The the song lyrics reflect on how Austinites, especially in Latino spaces, (restaurants, arts spaces, parks) have adapted to the new way of life.

 

 

"During these times it has been especially difficult for Austin artists especially musicians to continue our work in person since many bars and musical venues have closed bringing many challenges. We want to normalize the new ways of life to make people feel okay to do things differently in order to protect ourselves, our diverse cultural communities ¡Ponte las máscaras, Austin! Wear your masks!" - Güateque Son

Mar 15, 2021 - 10:35 am CDT

Did you know that stacking rocks impacts soil, plants, and wildlife? 

Rock cairns have traditionally served as trail markers, but have recently become trendy on social media. What’s the harm in stacking a few rocks for fun? Actually, this seemingly innocuous act often has a critical impact on the delicate balance of nature. 

Also known as rock graffiti, stone stacks damage the ecosystem in a number of ways. This is especially true when the rocks are taken from a body of water. 
 

 

Stacking rocks is harmful because: 

  1. Stacking rocks in Austin’s creeks, rivers, and lakes can disturb the macroinvertebrates that call those rocks their home. This can have a cascade effect on the wellbeing of other animals in the ecosystem because the macroinvertebrates are a key part of the food chain. 

  1. Many land creatures use rocks for their habitats, too. Often birds build nests in rocks, plants incubate in the crevices, and insects live under them. When you move the rocks that they call home, they can die and this can cause a chain reaction within the food web. 

  1. Moving rocks dislodges the soil and disturbs natural habitats which can have a ripple effect on plant and animal life, including endangered species. A Biologist from Watershed Protection found a dead salamander at the bottom of a rock stack in Barton Creek. 

  1. Stacking rocks can lead hikers off the trail and cause people who rely on cairns for wayfinding to become lost. 

If you love nature, Leave No Trace (LNT). There are seven LNT principles. The fourth principle speaks specifically to behavior such as stacking rocks. 

Leave No Trace Principle 4: Leave What You Find 

  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. 

  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. 

  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches. 

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts. 

Learn more and spread the word about Leave No Trace at AustinTexas.gov/LeaveNoTrace.  

#ATXParks #ATXParkRangers #LNT #LeaveWhatYouFind 

Mar 04, 2021 - 02:46 pm CST

As the weather starts to turn warm in Austin, The Parks and Recreation Department’s Aquatics Division looks forward to offering pool services to our community. As COVID-19 cases moderate, emphasis will shift towards expanding pool access through training and hiring lifeguards while observing and implementing comprehensive safety procedures for both staff and visitors.    

Being a lifeguard means prioritizing safety above all else. With guidance from local offices such as Austin Public Health, Center For Disease Control, and top-tier nationally recognized training protocols from Star Guard Elite, our goal is to keep staff safe while offering safe services and facilities to the public. 

Lifeguard Training in times of COVID-19

  • In order to maintain 6 feet social distance, courses will be limited to 5 participants per instructor, with a maximum of 10 participants. Participants are kept in the same group throughout the training course.
  • The courses will be held both indoors and outdoors. However, most of the instruction will be outdoors.
  • All participants are required to wear a mask during training except when practicing in-water rescues or CPR scenarios.    
  • Following guidelines set by the CDC and SGE, manikins and any other rescue equipment (rescue tubes, backboards, etc.) are sanitized between each usage using alcohol wipes or a bleach solution. Manikin lungs are also replaced between each usage.  
  • There will be no instances where mouth to mouth contact is required. CPR requires the need for lifeguards to administer ventilation breaths as opposed to standard compression-only technique. In these cases, one-way breather masks are used between the unresponsive person and the lifeguard. Practice of this lifesaving technique will be done with medical-grade manikins.  

We are currently accepting applications for lifegaurd positions.

Training and certification must be completed in order to be hired for a position.We are now training new and returning lifeguards for Spring/Summer 2021.

Want to learn more about becoming a lifeguard with the City of Austin? Visit LifeGuardAustin.com.

#LifeguardAustin #SwimATX #ATXjobs

Apr 22, 2020 - 01:57 pm CDT

Concept drawing of the Alliance Children's GardenThe spectacular Alliance Children’s Garden is located near Lady Bird Lake with a view of the Austin skyline. It’s one of the newest additions to the city’s parks and recreation system and is located at the Michael Butler Park at Town Lake Metro Park.

Picture of Alliance Children's GardenUnlike any Play Space in Austin

The Alliance Children's Garden is more than a new park, it represents the unique culture of Austin and recognizes the history of the parkland where it’s located.  Innovative play features invite kids to use their imaginations, explore, and play cooperatively. The space is visually striking and welcoming to generations of Austinites.

The type of play and the park amenities at Alliance Children’s Garden are unlike any other play space in Austin. Four areas reflect Austin’s culture and environment, including the hill country garden, the skyline garden, the art and culture garden, and the rock and slide valley garden. Though the garden rooms feature traditional play pieces, most play amenities are integrated into the landscape and unlike other play opportunities. 

Picture of historical marker for Butler Brick Company installed at Alliance Children's GardenA Park with a Long History

The land where the Alliance Children’s Garden is located has a long and important history in Austin. The area was a brick yard from 1876 to 1958, which was owned by Michael Butler. Prior to purchasing this land, Butler owned a plant just north of the Colorado River (Lady Bird Lake) that manufactured bricks. Most of Austin’s brick structures built between 1873 and 1900 contained Butler Bricks, including the Texas Capitol, which still contains three million Butler Bricks that support the interior of the building.

Butler died in 1909 and his family took over the business. In 1941, the Butler Family deeded land to the City of Austin for civic use, at a fraction of the land’s value. These 91 acres became part of the Austin parks and recreation system and the Alliance Children’s Garden sits on two of them. Throughout 1984, the Town Lake Park Alliance gathered 19,577 signatures forcing a charter referendum on the upcoming ballot to make the entire city-owned waterfront a public park.

Don’t miss the Alliance Children’s Garden. While you’re there, check out the markers commemorating the history and contributions of the Butler Family, and enjoy the unique play spaces.

Apr 22, 2020 - 09:44 am CDT

Dog with leash in mouthWho doesn't love a walk around Lady Bird Lake with their furry friends? And many dogs enjoy a stop at one of the off-leash areas around Lady Bird Lake to cool off in the water. But, before you allow your dog in the water, be sure to read this post to learn about the type of algae that could harm or kill your pet.

Exposure to Algae Toxins Can be Deadly to Dogs

Harmful algae are a type of blue-green algae, also known aa cyanobacteria, that can produce toxins. These toxins can cause illness or death in dogs. The City of Austin is aware of five dogs that died in 2019 after they were exposed to the toxins while swimming in Lady Bird Lake.

Dogs can be exposed to the toxins by swallowing the algae while swimming or by licking their fur after contacting the algae.

Picture of harmful algae bloom Tips to Keep Dogs Safe

  • Keep dogs away from floating mats of algae.
  • Rinse dogs after contact with lake water.
  • Don't let your dog swim in water that is warm and stagnant or where lots of algae is present.
  • If your dog becomes ill after swimming, take it to a veterinarian immediately and report any algae related illness to 3-1-1.
  • Regularly check www.austintexas.gov/algae.
  • If you allow your dogs to swim, it is at your own risk.

Be Aware of Symptoms of Harmful Algae Toxin Exposure

  • Excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Jaundice, hepatomegaly
  • Blood in urine or dark urine 
  • Stumbling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Photosensitization in recovering animals
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Progression of muscle twitches 
  • Respiratory paralysis

Where to Get More Information

Algae caution signAs you walk along Lady Bird Lake, look for signs warning you about harmful algae.

Check www.austintexas.gov/algae and follow the Watershed Protection Department on Facebook to get updates on the level of risk of harmful algae.

There is the potential for harmful algae to form in locations other than Lady Bird Lake. Algae and bacteria are much less likely to be a concern where the water is cool and flowing.

Person kayaking on Lady Bird LakeThe Risk to People Appears Low

People were still able to use boats and paddle boards on the lake during the harmful algae outbreak. The City of Austin recommends that people avoid areas with floating algae mats and rinse off after contact with the water. However, toxins were only found in algae samples, not in water samples, and risk was low for recreational boaters and paddlers.

Drinking Water Has Not Been Affected

Currently, Austin Water does not use Lady Bird Lake as a source for drinking water. 

Picture of harmful algae bloomScientists Are Monitoring the Lake

The Watershed Protection Department first identified harmful algae on Lady Bird Lake in 2019. Scientists began testing and identified algae toxins in various samples taken between August and October. 

Algae is most likely to be a concern in the summer and fall. Scientists will again begin monitoring and testing for the presence of toxins in the summer of 2020.

Learn more at www.austintexas.gov/algae.

Mar 02, 2020 - 10:55 am CST

Rowers on a boat in the sunsetDid you know that Lady Bird Lake is considered internationally as “a good piece of water?” That’s according to Kevin Reinis, Executive Director of the Austin Rowing Club. Rowers come from all over the world to dip their oars in the lake.

The Austin Rowing Club is helping to grow Lady Bird Lake’s reputation in the worldwide rowing community. And the nonprofit organization is one of many vendors for the Parks and Recreation Department that are making our parks and recreation system an amazing asset to for residents and visitors.

The Austin Rowing Club provides opportunities for community members to improve their health and connect with nature—two things that are central to PARD’s mission. But they’re not just offering a good workout on “a good piece of water.” They’ve also got an incredible heart for giving back to the community.

Rowers on a training bargeA Heart for Giving Back

The Austin Rowing Club helps underserved community members and individuals that have been traditionally left out of rowing get out on the water. They offer programs for veterans, breast cancer survivors, at-risk youth, economically disadvantaged youth, senior citizens, Paralympic athletes, and adults with differing abilities, to name just a few.

Throughout the year, you can find kids on the water in boats and kayaks, visiting the Austin Rowing Club from PARD’s recreation and activity centers. Plus, the club hosts adaptive recreation programs for adults from PARD’s Danny G. McBeth Recreation Center and Annex.

Austin Rowing Club is also a steward of Lady Bird Lake and the surrounding Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, providing financial and volunteer support to keep these gems safe and clean.

Rowers in a raceThe Heart of Texas Regatta

At the end of this month, you may notice some exciting activity on the east end of Lady Bird Lake—the Heart of Texas Regatta. The regatta is two days of racing, with local and visiting teams of all ages—from teenagers to seniors—and all skill levels. Since 1983, the organization has hosted this event on Lady Bird Lake. Over 1,500 competitors gather annually at Edward Rendon Sr. Metropolitan Park at Festival Beach to row the 1,000-meter course. This year, the Heart of Texas Regatta will be held February 29 through March 1.

You can join in the fun of this 37-year tradition by volunteering, watching, and, of course, racing.

  • The Austin Rowing Club enlists the help of over 100 volunteers to help make this race possible for the community. You can sign up on their website.
  • Check out the races from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail along the east frontage road of Interstate 35 or from the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.
     

Mar 02, 2020 - 10:35 am CST

Barton Creek next to Barton Creek GreenbeltOne of Austin’s popular trails is getting some TLC this spring. The Barton Creek Greenbelt was recently named as one of 14 “Hot Spots” around the nation by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. A Hot Spot is a popular and beautiful outdoor area that is heavily used, resulting in unintended impacts such as such as litter, damaged vegetation, and trail erosion, to name a few examples.

The Parks and Recreation Department, Leave No Trace, local organizations, and the community are partnering to raise awareness among park visitors about outdoor recreation ethics on the Barton Creek Greenbelt and other natural areas and to bring solutions to the community. 

March 6-9, 2020 Leave No Trace

Join the Parks and Recreation Department and the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers for a series of fun, family-friendly workshops to learn about Leave No Trace Principles. You can also help the Barton Creek Greenbelt by volunteering for It’s My Park Day. Attendance at each event is limited. Registration is required.

Leave No Trace Rock-Climbing - An entry-level rock-climbing opportunity that will also teach about ways to protect natural climbing spaces. March 6 and March 9

Salamander Walk - A tour of springs in the Barton Springs Pool area and an opportunity to learn about the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. Attendees may get to see a salamander in its natural habitat. March 6

Close up of hands picking up trashIt's My Park Day - An opportunity for hundreds of volunteers to improve the Barton Creek Greenbelt. There will be six locations where the community can participate. It's My Park Day is hosted each spring and fall by Austin Parks Foundation. March 7

Leave No Trace Birdwalk - This program is designed to introduce participants to the basics of birdwatching, as well as Leave No Trace principles as they relate to birding. March 8

Citizen Science, BioBlitz - A BioBlitz involves making as many observations as possible of species within a certain amount of time. This BioBlitz will inspire stewardship, show participants how to contribute to their scientific community, and teach about the organisms present in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. March 8

 

Feb 07, 2020 - 02:34 pm CST

Map of Davis Spring Park Disc Golf CoursePARD’s Parkland Dedication Team is committed to making the Austin parks and recreation system even better by planning new parks, building connections to existing parks, and working towards an interconnected network of parks.

On a bright, cool morning, PARD employees engaged in some community research as they explored Davis Spring Special Park, the department’s newest park and disc golf course. Justin Stewart, a Planner Senior with the Parkland Dedication Team at PARD, worked closely with a developer who deeded this land to the city to satisfy the Parkland Dedication requirements for the apartments that were built nearby.

PARD Planning DivisionJustin and the developer worked closely with John Houck, a renowned disc golf course designer, to plan and develop this course. The result is a nine-hole course that is challenging for seasoned pros, but still accessible for amateurs.

More than just a disc golf course, Davis Spring Special Park represents the flexibility of the 2016 Parkland Dedication Ordinance to meet recreation needs as Austin’s population continues to grow. This park symbolizes a successful partnership between the City of Austin, community members, a private developer, and Austin’s disc golfers.

The City of Austin passed its first Parkland Dedication Ordinance in 1985 and it was later updated in 2007 and 2016. Currently, all subdivision and site plan applications are required to dedicate parkland to the city or pay a fee. Revenues from fees can be used to buy land and develop new park facilities.

Basket on the Disc Golf CourseWhen developers dedicate land, PARD works with them to design new parks on the sites of residential, hotel, and mixed-use developments. This provides plazas, pocket parks, bark parks, trail connections, and more in areas of rapid growth and increasing density. For cases that involve fees-in-lieu, the department looks for opportunities to acquire and develop new parkland in underserved areas of Austin. 

We invite you to throw a few discs at the new course and check out all six of PARD’s courses!

Davis Spring Special Park
9819 Neenah Ave.
Austin, TX 78717
Opened December 2019
Nine Holes

 

Jan 23, 2020 - 04:43 pm CST

Pile of Christmas trees to be recycled, behind is the Austin skylineFollowing the festivities of the holiday season, Austinites gave their Christmas trees a second life by recycling them. After taking off the ornaments and decorations, Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) customers put their trees out for curbside pickup. Residents who were not curbside customers dropped off their trees at Zilker Metropolitan Park.

ARR then turned the recycled trees into free mulch for residents. Annually, Christmas tree recycling keeps nearly 20,000 trees out of area landfills, which contributes to the city’s goal of reaching zero waste by 2040. 

This was the 33rd year that the City of Austin offered Christmas tree recycling and plans are already underway for 2020. ARR and the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) partner to provide this opportunity. Are you interested in volunteering this year? Follow ARR and PARD on Facebook to stay tuned in to events like this. 

 

33rd Annual Christmas Tree Recycling

Keeping Austin weird, residents found creative ways to transport their trees to Zilker Metropolitan Park

Tree drop off was available over two weekends, Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5

48 volunteers helped residents unload their trees

Volunteers had fun and got cool t-shirts

ARR turned the discarded trees into something useful—free mulch for residents

On Jan. 16, Austinites brought shovels and buckets to pick up free mulch, made from the recycled trees

 

Mar 15, 2021 - 10:35 am CDT

Did you know that stacking rocks impacts soil, plants, and wildlife? 

Rock cairns have traditionally served as trail markers, but have recently become trendy on social media. What’s the harm in stacking a few rocks for fun? Actually, this seemingly innocuous act often has a critical impact on the delicate balance of nature. 

Also known as rock graffiti, stone stacks damage the ecosystem in a number of ways. This is especially true when the rocks are taken from a body of water. 
 

 

Stacking rocks is harmful because: 

  1. Stacking rocks in Austin’s creeks, rivers, and lakes can disturb the macroinvertebrates that call those rocks their home. This can have a cascade effect on the wellbeing of other animals in the ecosystem because the macroinvertebrates are a key part of the food chain. 

  1. Many land creatures use rocks for their habitats, too. Often birds build nests in rocks, plants incubate in the crevices, and insects live under them. When you move the rocks that they call home, they can die and this can cause a chain reaction within the food web. 

  1. Moving rocks dislodges the soil and disturbs natural habitats which can have a ripple effect on plant and animal life, including endangered species. A Biologist from Watershed Protection found a dead salamander at the bottom of a rock stack in Barton Creek. 

  1. Stacking rocks can lead hikers off the trail and cause people who rely on cairns for wayfinding to become lost. 

If you love nature, Leave No Trace (LNT). There are seven LNT principles. The fourth principle speaks specifically to behavior such as stacking rocks. 

Leave No Trace Principle 4: Leave What You Find 

  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. 

  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. 

  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches. 

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts. 

Learn more and spread the word about Leave No Trace at AustinTexas.gov/LeaveNoTrace.  

#ATXParks #ATXParkRangers #LNT #LeaveWhatYouFind 

In the Parks
Mar 04, 2021 - 02:46 pm CST

As the weather starts to turn warm in Austin, The Parks and Recreation Department’s Aquatics Division looks forward to offering pool services to our community. As COVID-19 cases moderate, emphasis will shift towards expanding pool access through training and hiring lifeguards while observing and implementing comprehensive safety procedures for both staff and visitors.    

Being a lifeguard means prioritizing safety above all else. With guidance from local offices such as Austin Public Health, Center For Disease Control, and top-tier nationally recognized training protocols from Star Guard Elite, our goal is to keep staff safe while offering safe services and facilities to the public. 

Lifeguard Training in times of COVID-19

  • In order to maintain 6 feet social distance, courses will be limited to 5 participants per instructor, with a maximum of 10 participants. Participants are kept in the same group throughout the training course.
  • The courses will be held both indoors and outdoors. However, most of the instruction will be outdoors.
  • All participants are required to wear a mask during training except when practicing in-water rescues or CPR scenarios.    
  • Following guidelines set by the CDC and SGE, manikins and any other rescue equipment (rescue tubes, backboards, etc.) are sanitized between each usage using alcohol wipes or a bleach solution. Manikin lungs are also replaced between each usage.  
  • There will be no instances where mouth to mouth contact is required. CPR requires the need for lifeguards to administer ventilation breaths as opposed to standard compression-only technique. In these cases, one-way breather masks are used between the unresponsive person and the lifeguard. Practice of this lifesaving technique will be done with medical-grade manikins.  

We are currently accepting applications for lifegaurd positions.

Training and certification must be completed in order to be hired for a position.We are now training new and returning lifeguards for Spring/Summer 2021.

Want to learn more about becoming a lifeguard with the City of Austin? Visit LifeGuardAustin.com.

#LifeguardAustin #SwimATX #ATXjobs

In the Parks
Apr 22, 2020 - 01:57 pm CDT

Concept drawing of the Alliance Children's GardenThe spectacular Alliance Children’s Garden is located near Lady Bird Lake with a view of the Austin skyline. It’s one of the newest additions to the city’s parks and recreation system and is located at the Michael Butler Park at Town Lake Metro Park.

Picture of Alliance Children's GardenUnlike any Play Space in Austin

The Alliance Children's Garden is more than a new park, it represents the unique culture of Austin and recognizes the history of the parkland where it’s located.  Innovative play features invite kids to use their imaginations, explore, and play cooperatively. The space is visually striking and welcoming to generations of Austinites.

The type of play and the park amenities at Alliance Children’s Garden are unlike any other play space in Austin. Four areas reflect Austin’s culture and environment, including the hill country garden, the skyline garden, the art and culture garden, and the rock and slide valley garden. Though the garden rooms feature traditional play pieces, most play amenities are integrated into the landscape and unlike other play opportunities. 

Picture of historical marker for Butler Brick Company installed at Alliance Children's GardenA Park with a Long History

The land where the Alliance Children’s Garden is located has a long and important history in Austin. The area was a brick yard from 1876 to 1958, which was owned by Michael Butler. Prior to purchasing this land, Butler owned a plant just north of the Colorado River (Lady Bird Lake) that manufactured bricks. Most of Austin’s brick structures built between 1873 and 1900 contained Butler Bricks, including the Texas Capitol, which still contains three million Butler Bricks that support the interior of the building.

Butler died in 1909 and his family took over the business. In 1941, the Butler Family deeded land to the City of Austin for civic use, at a fraction of the land’s value. These 91 acres became part of the Austin parks and recreation system and the Alliance Children’s Garden sits on two of them. Throughout 1984, the Town Lake Park Alliance gathered 19,577 signatures forcing a charter referendum on the upcoming ballot to make the entire city-owned waterfront a public park.

Don’t miss the Alliance Children’s Garden. While you’re there, check out the markers commemorating the history and contributions of the Butler Family, and enjoy the unique play spaces.

In the Parks
Apr 22, 2020 - 09:44 am CDT

Dog with leash in mouthWho doesn't love a walk around Lady Bird Lake with their furry friends? And many dogs enjoy a stop at one of the off-leash areas around Lady Bird Lake to cool off in the water. But, before you allow your dog in the water, be sure to read this post to learn about the type of algae that could harm or kill your pet.

Exposure to Algae Toxins Can be Deadly to Dogs

Harmful algae are a type of blue-green algae, also known aa cyanobacteria, that can produce toxins. These toxins can cause illness or death in dogs. The City of Austin is aware of five dogs that died in 2019 after they were exposed to the toxins while swimming in Lady Bird Lake.

Dogs can be exposed to the toxins by swallowing the algae while swimming or by licking their fur after contacting the algae.

Picture of harmful algae bloom Tips to Keep Dogs Safe

  • Keep dogs away from floating mats of algae.
  • Rinse dogs after contact with lake water.
  • Don't let your dog swim in water that is warm and stagnant or where lots of algae is present.
  • If your dog becomes ill after swimming, take it to a veterinarian immediately and report any algae related illness to 3-1-1.
  • Regularly check www.austintexas.gov/algae.
  • If you allow your dogs to swim, it is at your own risk.

Be Aware of Symptoms of Harmful Algae Toxin Exposure

  • Excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Jaundice, hepatomegaly
  • Blood in urine or dark urine 
  • Stumbling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Photosensitization in recovering animals
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Progression of muscle twitches 
  • Respiratory paralysis

Where to Get More Information

Algae caution signAs you walk along Lady Bird Lake, look for signs warning you about harmful algae.

Check www.austintexas.gov/algae and follow the Watershed Protection Department on Facebook to get updates on the level of risk of harmful algae.

There is the potential for harmful algae to form in locations other than Lady Bird Lake. Algae and bacteria are much less likely to be a concern where the water is cool and flowing.

Person kayaking on Lady Bird LakeThe Risk to People Appears Low

People were still able to use boats and paddle boards on the lake during the harmful algae outbreak. The City of Austin recommends that people avoid areas with floating algae mats and rinse off after contact with the water. However, toxins were only found in algae samples, not in water samples, and risk was low for recreational boaters and paddlers.

Drinking Water Has Not Been Affected

Currently, Austin Water does not use Lady Bird Lake as a source for drinking water. 

Picture of harmful algae bloomScientists Are Monitoring the Lake

The Watershed Protection Department first identified harmful algae on Lady Bird Lake in 2019. Scientists began testing and identified algae toxins in various samples taken between August and October. 

Algae is most likely to be a concern in the summer and fall. Scientists will again begin monitoring and testing for the presence of toxins in the summer of 2020.

Learn more at www.austintexas.gov/algae.

In the Parks
Mar 02, 2020 - 10:55 am CST

Rowers on a boat in the sunsetDid you know that Lady Bird Lake is considered internationally as “a good piece of water?” That’s according to Kevin Reinis, Executive Director of the Austin Rowing Club. Rowers come from all over the world to dip their oars in the lake.

The Austin Rowing Club is helping to grow Lady Bird Lake’s reputation in the worldwide rowing community. And the nonprofit organization is one of many vendors for the Parks and Recreation Department that are making our parks and recreation system an amazing asset to for residents and visitors.

The Austin Rowing Club provides opportunities for community members to improve their health and connect with nature—two things that are central to PARD’s mission. But they’re not just offering a good workout on “a good piece of water.” They’ve also got an incredible heart for giving back to the community.

Rowers on a training bargeA Heart for Giving Back

The Austin Rowing Club helps underserved community members and individuals that have been traditionally left out of rowing get out on the water. They offer programs for veterans, breast cancer survivors, at-risk youth, economically disadvantaged youth, senior citizens, Paralympic athletes, and adults with differing abilities, to name just a few.

Throughout the year, you can find kids on the water in boats and kayaks, visiting the Austin Rowing Club from PARD’s recreation and activity centers. Plus, the club hosts adaptive recreation programs for adults from PARD’s Danny G. McBeth Recreation Center and Annex.

Austin Rowing Club is also a steward of Lady Bird Lake and the surrounding Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, providing financial and volunteer support to keep these gems safe and clean.

Rowers in a raceThe Heart of Texas Regatta

At the end of this month, you may notice some exciting activity on the east end of Lady Bird Lake—the Heart of Texas Regatta. The regatta is two days of racing, with local and visiting teams of all ages—from teenagers to seniors—and all skill levels. Since 1983, the organization has hosted this event on Lady Bird Lake. Over 1,500 competitors gather annually at Edward Rendon Sr. Metropolitan Park at Festival Beach to row the 1,000-meter course. This year, the Heart of Texas Regatta will be held February 29 through March 1.

You can join in the fun of this 37-year tradition by volunteering, watching, and, of course, racing.

  • The Austin Rowing Club enlists the help of over 100 volunteers to help make this race possible for the community. You can sign up on their website.
  • Check out the races from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail along the east frontage road of Interstate 35 or from the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.
     

In the Parks
Mar 02, 2020 - 10:35 am CST

Barton Creek next to Barton Creek GreenbeltOne of Austin’s popular trails is getting some TLC this spring. The Barton Creek Greenbelt was recently named as one of 14 “Hot Spots” around the nation by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. A Hot Spot is a popular and beautiful outdoor area that is heavily used, resulting in unintended impacts such as such as litter, damaged vegetation, and trail erosion, to name a few examples.

The Parks and Recreation Department, Leave No Trace, local organizations, and the community are partnering to raise awareness among park visitors about outdoor recreation ethics on the Barton Creek Greenbelt and other natural areas and to bring solutions to the community. 

March 6-9, 2020 Leave No Trace

Join the Parks and Recreation Department and the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers for a series of fun, family-friendly workshops to learn about Leave No Trace Principles. You can also help the Barton Creek Greenbelt by volunteering for It’s My Park Day. Attendance at each event is limited. Registration is required.

Leave No Trace Rock-Climbing - An entry-level rock-climbing opportunity that will also teach about ways to protect natural climbing spaces. March 6 and March 9

Salamander Walk - A tour of springs in the Barton Springs Pool area and an opportunity to learn about the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. Attendees may get to see a salamander in its natural habitat. March 6

Close up of hands picking up trashIt's My Park Day - An opportunity for hundreds of volunteers to improve the Barton Creek Greenbelt. There will be six locations where the community can participate. It's My Park Day is hosted each spring and fall by Austin Parks Foundation. March 7

Leave No Trace Birdwalk - This program is designed to introduce participants to the basics of birdwatching, as well as Leave No Trace principles as they relate to birding. March 8

Citizen Science, BioBlitz - A BioBlitz involves making as many observations as possible of species within a certain amount of time. This BioBlitz will inspire stewardship, show participants how to contribute to their scientific community, and teach about the organisms present in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. March 8

 

In the Parks
Feb 07, 2020 - 02:34 pm CST

Map of Davis Spring Park Disc Golf CoursePARD’s Parkland Dedication Team is committed to making the Austin parks and recreation system even better by planning new parks, building connections to existing parks, and working towards an interconnected network of parks.

On a bright, cool morning, PARD employees engaged in some community research as they explored Davis Spring Special Park, the department’s newest park and disc golf course. Justin Stewart, a Planner Senior with the Parkland Dedication Team at PARD, worked closely with a developer who deeded this land to the city to satisfy the Parkland Dedication requirements for the apartments that were built nearby.

PARD Planning DivisionJustin and the developer worked closely with John Houck, a renowned disc golf course designer, to plan and develop this course. The result is a nine-hole course that is challenging for seasoned pros, but still accessible for amateurs.

More than just a disc golf course, Davis Spring Special Park represents the flexibility of the 2016 Parkland Dedication Ordinance to meet recreation needs as Austin’s population continues to grow. This park symbolizes a successful partnership between the City of Austin, community members, a private developer, and Austin’s disc golfers.

The City of Austin passed its first Parkland Dedication Ordinance in 1985 and it was later updated in 2007 and 2016. Currently, all subdivision and site plan applications are required to dedicate parkland to the city or pay a fee. Revenues from fees can be used to buy land and develop new park facilities.

Basket on the Disc Golf CourseWhen developers dedicate land, PARD works with them to design new parks on the sites of residential, hotel, and mixed-use developments. This provides plazas, pocket parks, bark parks, trail connections, and more in areas of rapid growth and increasing density. For cases that involve fees-in-lieu, the department looks for opportunities to acquire and develop new parkland in underserved areas of Austin. 

We invite you to throw a few discs at the new course and check out all six of PARD’s courses!

Davis Spring Special Park
9819 Neenah Ave.
Austin, TX 78717
Opened December 2019
Nine Holes

 

In the Parks
Jan 23, 2020 - 04:43 pm CST

Pile of Christmas trees to be recycled, behind is the Austin skylineFollowing the festivities of the holiday season, Austinites gave their Christmas trees a second life by recycling them. After taking off the ornaments and decorations, Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) customers put their trees out for curbside pickup. Residents who were not curbside customers dropped off their trees at Zilker Metropolitan Park.

ARR then turned the recycled trees into free mulch for residents. Annually, Christmas tree recycling keeps nearly 20,000 trees out of area landfills, which contributes to the city’s goal of reaching zero waste by 2040. 

This was the 33rd year that the City of Austin offered Christmas tree recycling and plans are already underway for 2020. ARR and the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) partner to provide this opportunity. Are you interested in volunteering this year? Follow ARR and PARD on Facebook to stay tuned in to events like this. 

 

33rd Annual Christmas Tree Recycling

Keeping Austin weird, residents found creative ways to transport their trees to Zilker Metropolitan Park

Tree drop off was available over two weekends, Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5

48 volunteers helped residents unload their trees

Volunteers had fun and got cool t-shirts

ARR turned the discarded trees into something useful—free mulch for residents

On Jan. 16, Austinites brought shovels and buckets to pick up free mulch, made from the recycled trees

 

In the Parks