Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bear Branch Park, The Woodlands Texas

This large park is easily accessible from Research Forest Drive. Located adjacent to Bear Branch Creek, it features a rink for roller hockey, is wheel and dog friendly and has natural trails to the creek. This park also has a combined soccer/baseball field and a volleyball court. Entrance to the dog park. On entering the park from Research Forest Dr, turn right into the parking lot and the dog park will be to your right. This is its entrance. There are two fenced areas, the right for small dogs and the left for large dogs. The large dog area. Very spacious. Its beautiful swimming pool. Small childrens playgound. Large pavilion is ideal to rent for group events. Its skateboard facilities include two separate boarding rinks. Five tennis courts It's hockey rink provides an unique amenity for all ages. One can walk on the pathway system over Bear Branch Creek or maybe explore some natural paths in the park. The Longleaf Pine is propigating along the creek bed. Even in dry season, Bear Branch Creek normally has water flowing down it.

How to get there
It is located just west of the bridge over Bear Branch Creek, on Research Forest. The entrance is on the north side of Research Forest, between Shadowbend and The Woodlands High School, across the street from the Bear Branch sports complex.
Google Map

Friday, June 12, 2009

Harpers Landing Park

There are some great trees and lots of dense forest in this park. I liked the swimming pool there and apparently there are many people who share that sentiment with me. It was busy for a Friday at noon. A visitor can enjoy the picnic benches. I saw at least two places where two families could share an area (two tables in close proximity). There is a toddlers park within this park, on the side opposite the pool. The park is bound by four streets and has walking paths on three sides. Two parking lots provide plenty of parking space. A soccer/baseball field is available, as well as tennis courts. This is a wheel friendly park. To see details in these photographs, make sure you click on the photographs themselves because every one is substantially larger than what you see here.

To get there, go east on highway 242 from I45. Take a left at the first street after Trade Center Parkway, Donwick. Go to Trade Center Parkway and take a left. The park will be obvious on your right at Harper's Landing Drive, where you will want to turn right in order to arrive at the parking lots.

Google Map

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We have retention ponds in our Woodlands Parks

Ponds are one of our greatest assets here in The Woodlands. They have such diversity in their waters and shores. Making them better is a goal of the superintendent of the parks system. I have taken this for granted lately. Sometimes it is good to reflect some and consider the purpose of an amenity. I once called one pond here a "retention pond" to someone I know, just out of normal conversation. I had a counter response "That is not a retention pond, it is a detention pond." I have to admit, that threw me a curve ball. For years, subdivisions have been building "retention" ponds to meet state requirements for water runoff management. That is the only term I ever heard for these ponds. So I researched this topic, not wanting to use the wrong word for one of these ponds, even in casual conservation. The difference is fairly subtle. Ours are all retention ponds, not detention ponds. But there are detention ponds in some Texas locations. A detention pond can be wet or dry, but its function is strictly to slow down the runoff of water. Because our ponds have vegetation and hold water permanently, ours are considered retention ponds, as they filter and break down the pollutants in the water by natural biological processes, and hold water as a habitat for living organisms. Retention ponds are designed to hold water, slow down water runoff and be a natural habitat for plants and other living organisms. Ours do serve both purposes - retention and detention but technically have the attributes of a "retention" pond. 1 Each day we can appreciate more about this place and its master plan.

1Retention vs Detention