Skip to main content

Blue Heron Parkway Revisited


 The Blue Heron Parkway is a total success story and I openly admit I not only voted against the expansion, but I was wrong in thinking it was stupid.  I also confess that I will stop and ask for directions when I’m lost.  Actually, as a geocacher, I’m never lost, but my first declaration of guilt is true.
 
When the issue of expanding Baker Road through what has traditionally been known as Honda Hills, and then crossing Barkuloo Road into the virgin woods behind Chaparral Village and intersecting with Sjolander Road was proposed, our town was experiencing tepid growth and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why so many people wanted to get to Sjolander Road.  Whew!  That was a long sentence.

Boy, I was short-sighted.  Strike two!  I’ve suspected for years that Baytown would experience exponential growth, but it arrived like an unexpected blue norther and caught our citizens with their back flaps down.  If you think the 45 minute wait at Cheddars is bad now, guess what?  We ain’t seen nothin’ yet

I listened to the Mayor of our fair city on Channel 16, whom I support wholeheartedly, talk about the traffic and speed of our motorists and what is to come and I wonder if Baytownians can fathom the congestion we are to experience over the next 5 years, as construction crews and support people flood our roads.  Add into the equation the sad fact that a great number of motorists are looking at a small electronic device in their hands as they drive and we have a King Kong-sized monkey of a problem.

Now I understand why the Blue Heron Parkway was a look into the future of Baytown and applaud the city for having a futuristic vision.  Let’s take a look at it.  Behind Chaparral Village subdivision is a beautiful hike and bike cement sidewalk which intersects with the retention/detention pond and I read in the Baytown Sun this week that additional money has been found to run the sidewalk around the giant well-sculpted pond.

In addition is a letter I received from Parks Superintendent Scott Johnson where he assures me this new trail will be lighted with solar powered LED lighting!  The trail and the 10 foot wide sidewalk on the south side of Blue Heron Parkway offers walkers, joggers, and cyclists over 4 miles of new lighted trails.

Geocachers on the back trail.
Seeing that I love the hi-tech game of geocaching, I have already saturated this addition and parkway with geocaches, a total of 16 to be exact and it has already attracted geocachers from Beaumont, Katy, Anahuac, and Houston.   Geocachers love to eat and they spend their hard-earned money here when they come, so it is another win for Baytown.  There are so many geocaches in the Baytown, that people come down from Dallas and distant cities and spend the night here, just to find the bulk of them.

I sat down with Mayor Stephen DonCarlos, Public Affairs Coordinator Patti Jett, and Tourism Director Anna Enderli a few weeks ago and it is in the plans to make Baytown an official Geotour city.  There is only one in Texas with others planned, but the general idea is, it is a mechanism to attract tourists (geocachers primarily) to our city where they visit all the key historic and interesting sites and boost our local economy.  It was decided to go full bore ahead and with the help of Larry Houston, we may be a Geotour city sometime in 2015.
Our newest road Blue Heron Parkway also has a wonderful 10 foot wide sidewalk on the south side.  Now, it is my understanding that any time a sidewalk of this dimension is placed as a hike/bike trail, it pretty much closes the land beside it to driveways and this is not only my hope, but all of us in Chaparral Village who live on Buffalo Trail and El Rancho Drive.

The Parkway is beautifully done, but cutting down the trees south of it to pour concrete will make it ugly and ruin the last sanctuary of forest for wildlife that lived there prior to the expansion.  As we develop our city, we need to aggressively plan reforesting every available patch of public land with Texas natives and xeriscape plants.  Defoliating our city has so many negative effects; it would take an additional 650 words to list them.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of driving on the Parkway, take a tour.  However, try to avoid when Ross Sterling high school lets out, as the young studs in their fast cars and trucks like to rip down it to impress the other young studs.  The girls of course couldn’t care less.
.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Another great column in The Baytown Sun this morning. DDC
Anonymous said…
I use it a lot to depart Garth road and head home towards chambers county! nice road! PH

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…