George Bush Park

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George Bush Park
George Bush Park 1.JPG
The Buffalo Bayou in southern George Bush Park.
Type public park, wildlife sanctuary
Location Houston, Texas
Coordinates 29°43′29.33″N 95°41′22.20″W / 29.7248139°N 95.6895000°W / 29.7248139; -95.6895000Coordinates: 29°43′29.33″N 95°41′22.20″W / 29.7248139°N 95.6895000°W / 29.7248139; -95.6895000
Area 7,800 acres (32 km2)
Created 1940s
Operated by Harris County Precinct Three Commissioner - Steve Radack [1]

George Bush Park is a county park in Houston, Texas in the United States. It covers 7,800 acres (32 km2).[2] It was previously known as Cullen-Barker Park.

History[edit]

The federal government opened the Barker Reservoir in the 1940s, mainly for Buffalo Bayou flood control. The present area occupies about half of the original area.[3]

Looking westward on a man-made bayou in the park.

The park stayed under the name Cullen-Barker Park until January 1997, when Commissioner Steve Radack proposed the name George Bush Park in honor of the 41st president of the United States George H. W. Bush. In May, the former president attended the opening ceremony, and the park received its new name.

Due to the ongoing Texas drought, on 13 September 2011, Houston Firefighters were dispatched to the park responding to a wildfire. The fire quickly grew and the firefighters were sent to the north levee near I-10 to wait for the fire to come to them and stop it there. At one point the fire was one mile wide, consuming 1,500-acres of the park, with the cause under investigation.[4]

Pre-settlement[edit]

Before the area was known as part of Houston, the marsh was part of the Stephen F. Austin colony. After settlers in the area moved out of the park, much of its land was sold to ranchers.

In the 1880s, a railway named the Texas Western Narrow Gauge Railroad ran trains from Houston to surrounding areas. Barely lasting one decade, the line was forced to shut down due to bankruptcy, yet still the park considers it a heritage.[3]

Cattle and farms occupied the area throughout the early 1900s, until the it became parkland in the mid-1940s.

Overview[edit]

The large park, located on the far west side of Houston, serves as an attraction and nature reserve for the Buffalo Bayou, a major water source in the park.

Most of the attractions are located on Westheimer Parkway[5] (not to be mistaken with Westheimer Road/F.M. 1093), a major thoroughfare in the park. The park hosts a large group of soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, a shooting range, model aircraft flying fields, and numerous pavilions, playgrounds, ponds and jogging trails. The park is also a popular Geocaching destination.

Jogging & biking trails[edit]

The park has a system of jogging trails, many surrounded by swamps, forest, and bayous. Many of the trails follow the Buffalo Bayou, and biking is popular year round. The trail is well known for its flexibility in biking; many speed bikers ride the trails. It is very similar to the nearby Terry Hershey Park in that both feature paved trails. A critical shortcoming of the trail system is that the sole paved trail does not form a loop, requiring cyclists to either ride in the traffic lanes of high-speed thoroughfares or retrace their route.

The Boardwalk[edit]

In addition to the biking trail, there is a large wooden bridge that crosses the Buffalo Bayou, dubbed "the Boardwalk" officially.

Capable of holding 5 tons (10,000 lbs.), the Boardwalk was a recent addition, built in 2004, mainly to cross the swampy, meandering Buffalo Bayou.[6] The bayou flows slowly and unsteadily in the area, spilling some of its water into swamps as it conjunctions with a second bayou.

The Boardwalk provides easy access across the bayou, seating, but no access to the Buffalo Bayou shoreline.

Sports fields[edit]

The park hosts two large, green soccer fields. These are commonly used for local-area teams to run practice drills. The first one is located near the western entrance, and the second, which is slightly smaller, is located near the baseball fields.[5]

There are six baseball fields in the park. Four of them are reserved for the West Oaks Little League.[5] The other two are public fields.

American Shooting Center[edit]

The American Shooting Center reserves 563 acres (2.3 km2) of land near the southeast entrance for shooting. The center is well known for accumulating nine different awards from different organizations. The center provides different shooting fields, a gun rental/purchase shop and paid shooting lessons.

Awards & accomplishments[edit]

The following are awards & accomplishments made by the club:[7]

  • 125+ corporate and fund-raising events
  • Club of The Decade Award - Runner Up
  • Home of the US Open, 1997 and 2004
  • Texas State Championship - 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003
  • Home of the Bayou City Classic and Browning/Briley World Open
  • NSCA Club of the Year - 1997 and 2001

See also[edit]

References[edit]