Get involved with Dallas County Open Space

By Amy Martin, class of 2018

Dallas County Open Space (DCOS) system has 20 preserves in Dallas, suburbs, and unincorporated areas of Dallas County that are open to the public. Each preserve is managed by the city it’s located in, making them vary widely in amenities and quality. Those in unincorporated areas, mainly in southeast Dallas County, are managed by DCOS. The Trails And Preserves Program (TAPP) board advises. There are a couple of openings on the TAPP board and more openings coming up in the next year. 

It’s a time of great change for DCOS-TAPP. The DCOS master plan is up for reassessment next year, meaning each preserve will be reevaluated. DCOS has hired Kate Christman away from Dogwood Canyon to improve community engagement. I’ve been presenting reports at each board meeting that have been well received on the potential for increasing the dirt trail mileage in the preserves. 

As part of preserve reevaluations, DCOS sees a need for iNaturalist-based surveys, as well as reports on geology, ecology, and issues such as illegal dumping. There is also a potential need for trail designers. This is already well covered in a few DOCS preserves such as Cedar Ridge, Goat Island, and Spring Creek Forest. All activities potentially qualify for VH. 

Starting this fall, I am planning monthly explorations of DCOS preserves that will entail some off trail bushwhacking. If you’d like to participate in the DCOS-TAPP resurgence, drop me a line

A dirt trail with fallen leaves on either side, surrounded by bare trees on the right, and evergreen trees on the left.

A trail at Paul S. Dryer Preserve at Windmill Hill. Photo by Amy Martin

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