Friday, December 26, 2014

Totally Texas -- There’s no place like White Rock Lake

As I write this, the dogs and I have just returned from our latest visit to White Rock Lake Park in East Dallas. When I settled near the lake nearly thirty years ago, all I wanted was a location close to work and schools. Lucky me, I ended finding a home within walking distance of one of the largest and most wonderful parks in Dallas.

Bounded roughly by East Mockingbird Lane, North Buckner Boulevard, Garland Road and Santa Barbara Drive, the 1,015 acre lake is the center of a haven for walkers, bicyclists, boaters and wildlife within five miles of big city’s skyscrapers. Some of my favorite views of Dallas are views from across White Rock Lake, including the photo that illustrates this post.

I love that other big park, the Dallas Arboretum, that borders the lake’s southeast shore. But sometimes I crave a landscape less manicured than the Arboretum’s pristine plantings. And White Rock offers something the Arboretum can’t¾ plenty of room for dogs. The dog park is currently closed for renovation (anticipated to be complete in early 2015). Still, the dogs and I usually pass up the lakeshore’s nine miles of paved walking trails to let them bound (on-leash) through the wilder surroundings filled with scents only their hound dog noses can decipher.

The manmade lake was originally formed in 1911 to serve as a water supply for the city of Dallas. By the 1930’s, the area surrounding the lake began to be developed as a city park with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Since then, the lake and its surrounding park have become home to many species of wildlife, including more than 200 species of birds, native or naturalized, like the colonies of bright green monk parakeets that add an oddly subtropical air.

It also inspires fervent human devotion. For birding information, photos and an annotated map of the lake surroundings, I liked J.R. Compton’s site, Or a virtual tour of the lake at Steven Butler’s “An Unofficial Guide to Scenic White Rock Lake Park,”

Park entry is free. The park has been under curfew in some past years and most areas have no nighttime lighting. I have visited at night without any problems, but still prefer walking in the day, less worried about humans than of encountering the ubiquitous coyotes with my smallish dogs.


Although this is my last time to write under the Totally Texas heading, next Monday’s Wordcraft post of readers’ favorite posts will be about another favorite site in Dallas. Starting the first full week in January 2015, the schedule for Wordcraft will move from Mondays to Tuesdays. The same week, Adventure classics will start a Friday posting schedule.

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