Guest blogger Matt Oliver lives in Fort Worth and has been working for the Trinity River Vision Authority for over 5 years. Matt is the Public Information Officer and is responsible with informing the public about the Trinity River Vison which will create a vibrant, pedestrian oriented urban waterfront neighborhood adjacent to Downtown Fort Worth, expand Gateway Park into a park and enhance the river corridor with over 90 user-requested projects along the Trinity Trails.
The Trinity River and its tributaries ebb and flow through every corner of Fort Worth creating a unique opportunity for our city. Fort Worth was founded along the Trinity River because of the vitality the river provided. However, as time passed, the community turned its back to the river. The Trinity became something that the community quickly drove across or beside forgetting the prominence it once played. In recent years, the Trinity River has experienced a resurrection in Fort Worth as the community has awoken to all that the river can provide. Today the Trinity River is returning to its original glory delivering water needs, open areas for recreation in and along its banks and a place to escape the hustle and bustle of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. A deeper understanding of this wonderful amenity has developed as the public realized that the Trinity River can serve as a link that brings our entire community together.
The My City. My Trinity exhibit at Fort Worth Community Arts Center features works of art from members of our community who have embraced the Trinity River and all that it has to offer our city. One gallery within the exhibit features photographs from Brian Luenser and Gordon Henry, both Fort Worth based photographers. A second gallery features community submitted photographs, the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite image.
Both featured photographers have a special connection to the Trinity River and Trinity Trails. According to Brian Luenser, his love developed after it became necessary for him to increase his exercise level which ended up leading him to the Trinity Trails and river. After that, he says there was no turning back. “I no longer think of the trails as an exercise place, though I get plenty of exercise on the trails, but my playground or the place for fun and a bit of nature in the middle of town,” said Brian. “It is also been a favorite target of mine in my photography.”
As for Gordon Henry, his appreciation for the Trinity River also developed from the need to exercise more. Gordon, a senior citizen and retired teacher and landscape worker, began walking an average of three miles a day in 2002 and sites his frequent walks along the Trinity Trails as one reason he is no longer diabetic. Soon after he began his regular walks along the river he took up photography as a hobby.
This shift in perception about our river would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a select group of organizations. Thanks to water quality initiatives the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has implemented over the last 20 years the Trinity River is the only river in a large urban area in Texas that you can jump in and embrace. The river is now enjoyed by kayakers, canoers, water skiers, tubers and swimmers alike. TRWD has also constructed a number of low water crossings and water access points for the community’s enjoyment. However, the amenity that TRWD is most appreciated for is its contribution to the beloved Trinity Trail system. TRWD has built and maintains over 58 miles of trail in the comprehensive Trinity Trails system. This system is connected to a strong on-street trail and park network provided by the City of Fort Worth which includes Trinity Park and Gateway Park. The full Trinity Trail system provides over 70 miles of continuous trails and connects to 31 neighborhoods.
A special thanks to Streams and Valleys who were the original stewards of the Trinity River and helped everyone appreciate what our river once meant to us. Our river community would not be here without their passion, commitment and continued fundraising efforts to support this effort.