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Hondo Garden Club

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Hondo Nature Trail and Park

In 2001 Garden Club members brought forth an idea of reviving an old abandoned gravel pit and converting the site into a walking path which was then presented to the City of Hondo.  Application was made for a funds-matching grant with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department which was awarded to the City of Hondo in January, 2006.  The completed project was brought about by the joint efforts of the Hondo Garden Club, the City of Hondo, and the hundreds of hours that were volunteered by people throughout the community interested in seeing the nature trail come into being.  Volunteer organizations involved included the Hondo Chamber of Commerce, Hondo Lions Club, Hondo-D'Hanis Rotary Club, Hondo Independent School District, Hondo Art League, Boy Scout troops as well as school children, Medina Ag Products, Vulcan Materials.  Assistance was also provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 

Over 30 acres have been utilized to create this beautiful, scenic project which includes multiple trails and loops. Visitors will find picnic tables, bridges, gazebos, beautifully painted trash cans and a children’s playscape. At the entrance to the trails several gardens were created and planted by the Garden Club for specific visitors to the park including a children’s garden, a garden for the visually impaired, and a Xeriscape garden.  Two observation decks, Morning Glory Outlook and God's Country Vista, provide a backdrop for beautiful photographs from opposite sides of the site.  Hondo Garden Club President Ellen Stevens states, “Within this scenic beautification project, the opportunity is available to witness the ever-changing dynamics of the landscape while being immersed with plant life and wildlife that flourishes along the winding trails.”

After many years of hard work and planning, the City of Hondo’s Nature Trails and Park is now open to visitors from sunrise to sunset daily. A crowd of dignitaries, nature enthusiasts, city officials and curious onlookers celebrated the grand opening held Friday, July 16, 2010.

Mayor Jim Danner offered a welcome and gave a history of the project which he explained initially began “as a vision for a new type of park in Hondo, one that accentuates a natural setting while featuring the indigenous plants, birds and butterflies.” Danner also explained that the entire park, including all trails and bridges, is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore “all residents can enjoy the natural beauty of Hondo.”

Prior to the grand opening, the main trail was divided into smaller “named trails” which were offered for “adoption” to interested individuals and/or groups.  The “Adopt-A-Trail” program is similar to TxDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program.   As of July 26, all trails had been adopted and there was a waiting list.   By becoming involved in this way, groups and individuals can experience a sense of pride and ownership in the new nature area.

Plans are in the works for several additions to the already well-equipped park including rest room facilities and a visitor center. Hondo Garden Club members hope to be able to use the area to educate school children and hold demonstrations, as well.

Then City Manager Robert Herrera said of the Hondo Garden Club and the new park, “Everything they do is first class and we are very proud of it.”