Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trail now open daily!

The Bull Creek Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) Trail, aka the Matthew and Hazeltine Smith Trail, is now open daily for your hiking, running and biking pleasure. Please be aware that our special agreement between the City of Austin and the Bull Creek Foundation prohibits dogs, fishing, swimming or picnicing. We apologize in advance for these prohibitions, but all of these activities are allowed on the Bull Creek Greenbelt, a 3.5 mile trail, just a short walk away. (We maintain both trails.)

Please remember too that the trail was built and is being maintained by volunteers from the Bull Creek Foundation so please let us know if you see something that either needs to be improved or corrected.

Map to Bull Creek WQPL Trail:
View Larger Map

Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

History of the Stenis Tract (Bull Creek WQPL)

History of this tract

This 60 acre tract of land with Bull Creek running through the middle of it is known as the Stenis Tract for it's owners Tom and Rowena Stenis and her brother Llewellyn Smith. Rowena and Llewellyn's parents Matthew Irving Smith and Hazeline Ingram Smith bought the land in 1941 for investment and recreation. Matthew was a language professor at U.T. and bought the lower part of the tract from Dorthy Duval and the upper part from Harvey Simon. The property was part of the original James Coleman survey.

The Smith and Stenis families enjoyed their creek side property for over 50 years.
In 1992 the property was put under option for construction of 355 apartments.
That drew the attention of people in the area who thought that this pristine stretch of Austin's only Northern Edwards Aquifer spring fed drinking water supply creek should be preserved. 13 area neighborhoods expressed this sentiment. Council member Ronney Reynolds assisted in actions that led to the tract remaining undeveloped. It took until the voters approved the 1998 City bond election and efforts of Council Member Beverly Griffith to see that funds were allocated to purchase this property. It was purchased in January 1999 as Water Quality Protection Land (WQPL). This is the only tract in Northwest Austin purchased as WQPL.

Volunteers from the Bull Creek Foundation participated in a public process to define public uses for City WQPL in 1999-2000, as part of an overall land management plan which was approved by City Council in late 2000.

It took until November 2005 for Bull Creek Foundation to forge an Agreement with the City to build and maintain an educational hike and bike trail at no cost to the City.

The 1.5 mile loop Matthew and Hazeline Smith Memorial hike and bike trail is now ready for public use after 2 years of work on many Saturdays by a large number of citizen volunteers, including many school groups and Scouts.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Trail Opening Fri Nov 9 and Sat Nov 10!


What: Matthew and Hazeline Smith Memorial Trail - 1.5 mile loop (details below)
On the Bull Creek Water Quality Protection Lands tract.

Where: West corner of 360 at Spicewood Springs Rd.
Location using
5479 Old Spicewood Springs Rd 78731


Fri. Nov. 9, 10:00 a.m. (City/County officials, press, tours at 10:30)
Sat. Nov. 10, 10:00 a.m. (trail tours)
Sat. Nov. 10, 12:00 noon (recognition of Eagle Scout projects, trail tours)

Information at or
Directions to the trail head and parking

Parking is very limited. Carpool if you can or be prepared to walk a short distance.

Traveling North on Loop 360 ( from FM 2222 and other points south) - Head north on Loop 360, you'll pass through the traffic signal at Lakewood Drive. Move into the left lane and take a left at the next traffic signal at Spicewood Springs road. (Only a left turn is possible) Once on Spicewood Springs Rd, turn right onto the low water crossing road and take an immediate right into the parking lot area.

Traveling: South on Loop 360 (from 183 and other points north) - Head south on Loop 360, you'll pass through several traffic signals at Great Hills and Spicewood Springs / Bluffstone Drive. Move into the right lane and take a right at the next traffic signal at Spicewood Springs road. (Only a right turn is possible) Once on Spicewood Springs Rd, turn right onto the low water crossing road and take an immediate right into the parking lot area.

Background Information on Bull Creek Foundation

The citizen effort to preserve this tract of land in perpetuity was "the catalyst" that prompted the creation of the Bull Creek Foundation (BCF) in 1994 to watch over the 32 square mile Bull & West Bull Creek Watersheds, roughly bounded by highways 2222, 620, 183 and Mesa Drive. BCF is an all volunteer affiliate of the Austin Parks Foundation

BCF's mission is to promote the harmonious balance between nature, recreation and sustainable economic development. It is an all volunteer effort, with no staff or overhead cost, with any funds raised going directly to the projects undertaken.

Volunteer leaders head up and organize volunteer initiatives in the key action areas identified through a series of public listening sessions and a statistical survey of stakeholders by a Westwood High junior statistics class. These initiatives include preserving the greenbelt along Bull Creek, improving water quality through innovative and pioneering approaches, creating and maintaining parks and recreational trails, improving the landscape by removing invasive species and planting native species, reviewing and engaging in planned developments, preserving the "country in an city" rural corridor west of Hwy. 360 along Spicewood Springs Road, capturing area cultural/archaeological/ geological history, preserving and protecting the scenic beauty of the area, stakeholder guidance on the management of Balcones Canyonlands Preserves (BCP) for endangered species in an urban setting.

Bull Creek Foundation:
- is stakeholder inclusive, and collaborates with people in all government and educational organizations who can further its mission statement.
- has no membership roster or membership dues.
- welcomes any and all people interested in helping with its initiatives.
- has a web site and