Houston Develops 5,000-Acre Park

The city of Houston is about to develop a five-thousand acre park north of Lake Houston. As Laurie Johnson reports – this will be the largest park in the city system.

The Lake Houston Wilderness Park is about a 45 minute drive north of downtown. Right now it's mostly just forested, undeveloped land. But over the course of the next two years the city Parks Department plans to turn it into a destination for campers, hikers and nature lovers.

Department Director Joe Turner says they're relying on private sources to fund the project.

"At this point you know we have the first initial $4.5 million that came from the Woodlands agreement. We're applying for a $1 million Texas Park & Wildlife grant. And then we're going to work with the Houston Parks Board to help us fund the rest of this project. And we're looking for any and all opportunities to help fund it."

Turner says they don't have a final estimate on the total cost yet. Right now the plan is to fund the park in $5 million phases.

And since the wilderness area is adjacent to Houston's largest water supply, it's an added bonus for city infrastructure.

"And of course we've got very many wetlands and cypress bogs in it. And they're known to clean water and so our goal is to help use some of those along the inlet sides to help us clean our water better before it goes into Lake Houston. Which means if we reduce the bacteria then we have to spend less dollars as a city purifying that water."

Turner says they hope to have roads, cabins and a visitor's center established by late 2010 for public use.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

For more information about the park visit  the City of Houston/parks web site

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...