City struggles to balance needs of birds, bikers and hikers on preserve lands
Balcones Canyonland Preserve invites proposals for new trails.
By Pamela LeBlanc
AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Field biologist Bill Reiner ducked under a cable blocking a trail that dips and dives through the underbrush of the Barton Creek Greenbelt Wilderness Park last month and groaned.
'Oh, no, not again,' he said, pointing to a freshly cut, wrist-thick stump.
In April, staffers checking this part of the greenbelt near Scottish Woods encountered a bicyclist with a saw in hand, blazing a new trail. They ordered him off the land but didn't press charges. They have since closed the trail but periodically discover that people have ignored their barriers.
This land, about 1,000 acres, is a piece of the multitract Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. The property was set aside to partially offset the secondary damage of development that has sprawled across these hills: the destruction of wooded habitat for the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, both endangered bird species, and a handful of endangered cave-dwelling invertebrates.