Friends Groups Look Forward to Bridging, Expanding Trails

Northaven, Bachman Lake leaders prioritize access, connections, opportunities

The Friends of Northaven Trail and Friends of Bachman Lake are working toward increasing access to their community assets.

There was recently a pedestrian bridge installed over U.S. 75 to connect Northaven Trail to the east side of the highway, and Bachman Lake leaders are working to clear the overgrown privet (an invasive plant) to open more trail space.

The 201-foot-long Northaven Trail bridge, installed Sept. 9-10 overnight, will connect the Northaven Trail to trails on the east side of North Central Expressway, such as the White Rock Creek Trail, Cottonwood Creek Trail, and SoPac Trail.

Jeff Kitner, president of Friends of Northaven Trail and the District 11 representative on the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, says the bridge will connect disparate communities.

“This will allow the city to really open up for everybody and will allow people who are on the east side to connect and see the beautiful Northaven Trail as well,” Kitner said. “I think our city and our region are moving in the right direction by adding in more trails like these, more connection points to really open up our communities.”

The bridge project, estimated at $9.3 million, is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation. Still, city and county funding and contributions from the Friends of Northaven Trail have also gone toward it.

The Friends of Bachman Lake group is working to unveil what president Susanna Brown estimates is 30 acres of abandoned greenspace. It hasn’t been accessible due to overgrown privet, so the group will work through it to create a forest-like area for the urban Bachman Lake Park.

“It’s kind of nice to see that people are eager to have access to what we call an oasis,” said Michael Cintron, communications director for Friends of Bachman Lake. “It is kind of an escape from what we typically associate with urban life, and that’s what we hope will happen.”

The Friends group hasn’t received city funding for the Bachman trail reveal because it isn’t considered a capital project, meaning they’ve depended entirely on local donors and fundraising.

Brown describes the greenspace as a hidden gem.

“The reason we have this sense of urgency to start this project and get it done is with the heat that we’ve been having over the last several years, the privet really starts affecting the health of the mature trees because whatever little breeze there is no longer flowing,” Brown said.

They hope to have the nature trailhead complete by Thanksgiving.

“A lot of what we’re trying to do is also to create the narrative and change the attitude that the Bachman area (is somewhere) you don’t want to go to, … and that’s not entirely true,” Cintron said.

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