"Greenways allow us to treat land and water as a system, as interlocking pieces in a puzzle, not as isolated entities."
Edward T. McMahon, American Greenways Program
While Precinct 4 can only focus on acquiring property on the south side of Spring Creek (Harris County), Bayou Land Conservancy has worked diligently with Montgomery County to secure much of the property on the north side of the creek.
A nearly 10-mile continuous trail connects Pundt Park in Spring, TX to Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center in Humble, TX. This one-of-a-kind opportunity allows the public to enjoy natural beauty and outdoor recreation close to home.
Spring Creek is one of only two creeks in Harris County that remain in a state of undeveloped wilderness: Clear Creek is the other. All other Harris County creeks and bayous (i.e. Greens, White Oak, Buffalo, etc.) have either been channelized or concreted. According to Bayou Land Conservancy, one of several partnering agencies of the greenway project, “The Spring Creek Greenway is now the largest forested urban corridor in the United States.”
Spring and Cypress Creeks feed into the San Jacinto River, together affecting the Lake Houston watershed, a major drinking water supply for Houston and Harris County residents. The Spring Creek Greenway has a direct and positive impact on the water quality of the Lake Houston watershed.
Additionally, ponds, tributaries, wetlands, and secondary creek banks—like those found alongside Spring Creek—are extremely important for slowing velocity, trapping sediment, and filtering pollutants during major flooding.
Due to the limited industry and development along Spring Creek, pollution value is low, which is a major contributing factor to it being considered a “healthy creek.”
Spring Creek is an important resting stop for migrating birds. Dozens of species, some of them quite rare, depend on riparian corridors such as the Spring Creek Greenway to refuel and recharge on the way to and from their nesting grounds. White bass are plentiful in the winter, while hybrid bass, catfish, and shad are plentiful at other times of the year.Bald eagles, herons and egrets, along with many other wildlife species, inhabit the area.
While land and construction costs continue to rise, initial cost estimates for land purchases was $4.5 million, and the Harris County Flood Control District was essential in securing grant funds to offset county funding. Associations and organizations that support green space preservation, such as the Bayou Preservation Association (BPA), The Park People, and Bayou Land Conservancy, also assisted in securing funds and partnering with Precinct 4 to make a project of this magnitude possible.
Final cost estimates for infrastructure, personnel, and maintenance cannot be determined at this time.Precinct 4 allocated $2.1 million to develop Pundt Park, a 428-acre park with a primitive canoe launch, playground, picnic loop with ten tables and two pavilions, bicycle racks, rest rooms, separate equestrian and multiuse trails, and two lakes that are perfect for fishing. The Bibi and Mini-Me Bush Dog Park, Precinct 4's first dog park, opened at Pundt Park in March 2012, and future improvements will include a large pavilion and an office. Stahl Preserve, a 146-acre nature preserve with a large pristine fishing lake*, magnificent magnolia trees, and many other wildlife and plant species, is located between Pundt Park and Bill and Ellen Carter Park. Carter Park opened to the public in October 2012, and creates another anchor park and access point to the Spring Creek Greenway trail. It features a 12-lane archery range with Olympic-level target distances and a canoe launch (available with advance reservation), and future plans include a restroom and lighting for the archery range. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, the easternmost anchor park along the Spring Creek Greenway trail at this time, is a 312-acre facility dedicated to nature and living history education. Access to the Spring Creek Greenway trail is through Jones Park, Carter Park, or Pundt Park, and all parks open at 8 a.m.
Originally initiated in 1979 as the “Cypress Creek Parks Project” by then Harris County Judge Jon Lindsay, Harris County purchased much of the existing land along Spring Creek. After former Commissioner Jerry Eversole realized only a few tracts of land along the floodplain were needed to connect the creek side property from Pundt Park to Highway 59, he sought out partners to accomplish this worthwhile goal that will benefit generations to come. It was also at this time that the project scope was widened to the current plan and renamed the Spring Creek Greenway.With the second phase of the trail system opening in March 2012, the goal to offer many types of outdoor recreation and preserve this linear parkland as a crucial wildlife corridor continues under the leadership of Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle.