Lake Travis - Westlake | October 2020

RIVER PLACE NATURE TRAIL The trail, located within the River Place Limited District, is composed of three sections: the Panther Hollow and Little Fern trails, which are free, and the more challenging Canyon Trail, which costs nonresidents $10 during peak times.

UPPER CANYON TRAIL

RIVER PLACE

CANYON TRAIL

LITTLE FERN TRAIL

PANTHER HOLLOW TRAIL

RECREATION

River Place Limited District is no longer charging $10 periodically on two of its three trails. (Community Impact Newspaper Sta)

GREENBELT BOUNDARY

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SOURCE: RIVER PLACE LIMITED DISTRICT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

River Place Limited District ends $10 fee on two trail sections The River Place Limited District is no longer charging a $10 fee period- ically to people living outside the district’s boundaries for access to two of three River Place trails. and Wildlife Department. The letter, obtained by Community Impact Newspaper , stated that RPLD would suspend the fees for the Panther and BY BRIAN PERDUE fee for people living outside the district to use the trail on holidays and during popular times on the weekends.

TRAIL TIMELINE

2019

• March 2 : River Place Limited District announces it will begin charging a $10 per person and per pet fee for nonresidents on the River Place Nature Trail. • July 23 : TPWD sends a letter to the district stating the $10 fee is not reasonable. • Sept. 17 : RPLD and TPWD agree to meet to discuss trail access. • Oct. 25 : RPLD’s board of directors votes to suspend the $10 trail fee for pets.

After receiving complaints about the fees, TPWD looked into the matter. At issue was whether trail access could be limited because the walkway was constructed partially via the use of state grant money. A 2002 state project agreement shows the state agency approved a state-funded grant of $500,000 for the completion of River Place MUD Wood- lands Park and Nature Preserve, with a portion funding the creation of the trail system. In a July 23, 2019, letter addressed to Scott Crosby, president of the River Place Limited District, TPWD Recre- ation Grants Branch Director Dana Lagarde stated that a $10 fee was not justied. The $10 fee to nonresidents using the upper Canyon Trail will remain because RPLD did not receive grant funding for that section, according to Evans’ letter.

Little Fern trails starting Aug. 17. Fees for the Canyon Trail would remain since that section did not receive grant funding, according to Evans’ letter. Evans’ letter stated that the RPLD was “disappointed” in the TPWD’s position, which would likely lead to an increase in the $10 fee to use the Canyon Trail. A Sept. 10 email sent by Reece to Evans and obtained by Community Impact Newspaper stated that “the proposal outlined in your letter will bring River Place Limited District into compliance with the requirements of the TPWD Local Park grant program.” In March 2019, RPLD—a governing body that oversees recreational facilities, recycling and solid waste disposal in the district—began charging a $10 per person and per pet

Fee collection for the Panther Hol- low and Little Fern trails has ended, according to Jesse Kennis, the senior operations manager for Inframark, the limited district’s management company, in an email to Community Impact Newspaper . Inframark spokesperson Leigh Catlin said in a separate email that those living outside the district still have to pay a $10 fee on the upper Canyon Trail, a challenging section near the north terminus. “A $10 fee is charged during peak usage hours for access to the upper Canyon Trail,” Catlin said. Representing RPLD, attorney Zachariah Evans sent a letter dated Aug. 13 to Dan Reece, the local parks programmanager for the Texas Parks

2020

• July 6 : A TPWD email to RPLD states the fee is “unreasonable and discriminatory.” • Aug. 13 : An attorney for RPLD sends a letter to TPWD stating that RPLD will end the fees for the Panther and Little Fern trails. • Sept. 10 : TPWD informs RPLD that the trail system is now in compliance. SOURCES: INFRAMARK, TEXAS

PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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LAKE TRAVIS  WESTLAKE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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