Lots of great information from the great folks at APF and good ideas from other park adopters - thank you!
I thought Ryan's presentation was well organized and easy to follow. Thanks!
Spent 2 hours cleaning up trash today at the 360/Lakewood Drive access area. 126 beer bottles (and tons of uncounted broken ones) and 11 diapers (including one diaper stuffed into a beer bottle, I wish I was making that up). Talked to a few park rangers and found out the following:
1. They were out ticketing cars on Sunday with ADP. They were sent specifically because someone called 311 about the ground fires that are being built so whoever made that call, THANK YOU!
2. They need more people to email and call Sara Hensley, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department Director (512-974-6700, firstname.lastname@example.org). Rangers cannot get the resources they need if Parks does not hear about the problem! I will post an example email to the site so folks can just copy and send.
3. The Rangers told me that it is legal to drink in some parts of the greenbelt. I am appalled and not sure what to make of that. Does anyone know if that is true? They showed me on the sign where the "no drinking" was essentially whited out. That goes a long way to explain the explosive growth of popularity in the park. I am looking into this and will post more if I find out anything.
I also got in touch with Caroline Alexander at the NWACA. She is actively recruiting people to try and re-energize the Bull Creek Foundation. I will be meeting with her and Rick Brimmer of the BCF, anyone else interested in joining that meeting? Please message me and I will forward Caroline your contact information. We are making progress!
Happening this weekend:
Was referred to the Bull Creek Foundation and the Northwest Austin Civic Association by Brian Block at City of Austin. Traded info with Rick Brimer of Bull Creek Foundation, looking forward to talking with him more this week. Took a video of the CRAZY parking situation along 360 on Sunday afternoon, from Old Spicewood Springs to Lakewood drive, tweeted to APD that there were hundreds of folks drinking littering and parking illegally
"I spoke to Michael Sullivan w Austin Resource Recovery to assess Bull Creek's trash situation.
His number is 512-974-1987. Michael told me I was the second person he's heard from in 2 days w the same complaint. I also mentioned the Pennybacker bridge and how much litter I've pulled from that place over the last few years."
From a neighbor in Lakewood Village:
"I spoke to the parks department today and they said in their meeting last week they decided to do a number of things to try to help:
- increased parks dept officer prescience accompanied by police officers
- more trash cans
- parks dept officers w tables set up educating people on pack-in-pack-out
- parking enforcement
Additionally they are trying to work w the city to install no parking signs on the west side of Lakewood drive but they haven't heard back on that request yet.
I did not hear any timing of these activities unfortunately.
Hopefully these measures improve the issues we are having but I have a feeling we have more fighting to do :)"
What do you think about these items? There are a lot of problems that need to be addressed but first and foremost (I feel) is the drinking that is happening at the park. It is like having an unregulated bar in our neighborhood. I also think that if you send a clear message that drinking will not be tolerated in the park, most of the resulting issues will clear up on their own. It isn't the hikers who are leaving empty beer bottles everywhere.
Spoke with Nate Thayer at the Parks Department. They know there is a litter and traffic problem and would love some community help with clean up and education. Nate referred me to Brian Block at the City of Austin to help coordinate our clean up efforts. The more vocal the community is, the more resources the parks department can divert to Bull Creek - so pick up your phones, folks!