The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge was founded in 1964 by the Fort Worth Audubon Society. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)
Walkers will have more ground to cover at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge after a planned expansion to the Marty Leonard Lotus Marsh Boardwalk.
A $3 million renovation to the boardwalk will begin in 2022, Daniel Price, the natural resource manager at the refuge, said. A section of the existing trail was blocked off by a fallen tree and portions of the boardwalk were washed away by heavy rain.
The center received a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the City of Fort Worth matched the grant with $1.2 million. The majority of the remaining money needed for the renovation was provided by the Friends of Fort Worth Nature Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and conserving the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.
“The city realizes how important it was to the water quality, and they decided to preserve it,” Haily Summerford, the executive director at the Friends of Fort Worth Nature Center, said of the nature center. “A great portion of the boardwalk was washed away by some great floods in 2017.”
The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge will be adding expansions to the boardwalk where roamers can see wildlife like alligators, fish and turtles. The boardwalk’s location is an active alligator hotspot.
“It’s kind of a hidden gem,” Summerford said. “People will come here and tell us they never knew about the center.”
The refuge and the Friends of Fort Worth Nature Center organization work together to provide funding for projects and renovations.
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