Friday, February 22, 2013

Terry Hershey Park and Trail ... and the Person

Photo of Terry Hershey, for whom the park
and trail is named
Both the Park (located north of Memorial Drive) and the trail system alongside both banks of Langham Creek and Buffalo Bayou are named after Terry Hershey, to honor her contributions to the preservation of this natural resource for the continued enjoyment by Houstonians and visitors. Both components (the contiguous park in the narrower sense, and the trails along the water-courses), are collectively referred to as Terry Hershey Park, which is somewhat confusing. The term "linear park" can also be found, which is a misnomer even for the hike-and-bike trail, for it is by no means straight. Anything but. It meanders, and the segment North of Memorial is actually a loop if you include the Memorial Drive road bridge over Langham Creek. 

The park North of Memorial Drive near the BP Office Tower (an area landmark with perennial circling vultures) features a playground, a kid-fit exercise areapavilions, and amenities such restrooms with running water, and drinking water fountain). 

Pavilion at Terry Hershey Park
Poster board for announcements - also has photo of Terry Hershey

A special attraction -- not to mention one of educational value -- is the ground-level sun dial that uses the shadow of the person wanting to know the time as a clock hand, with seasonal adjustments made for the month of the year.  Click the link in the preceding sentence if you want to know what such a sun clock is called. (The term would qualify for a spelling bee contest). 

Water fowl can be seen at Hershey Park throughout the year. In winter, large numbers of black-bellied whistling ducks can be observed at and on the pond that is part of the adjoining Exxon Chemical corporate campus to the West of the park (the corporate campus is not open to the public). There may be even more now since Skanska went ahead with its plan to drain the retention pond on the property across Memorial to the South, which it is re-developing for office use. 

The Terry Hershey trail system is designated "multi-use" and includes many ped-bike bridges along the way over Langham Creek, Buffalo Bayou, and tributaries/drainage channels. One of the pedestrians truss bridges is named for Jake Hershey, Terry's late husband, who was also a benefactor and nature and wildlife preservation activist. A big patch of blue bonnets on a slope closeby comes to bloom there every spring (in case you can't find the time to head out to Brenham to enjoy vistas of seas of Texas' official state flower the American way -- drive-by style). 

Caution is advised along the paved trails because of the "mixed use", i.e. the presence of both pedestrians and bicyclists. There is a posted speed limit for bikers (10 mph when passing), but it is routinely ignored. Some bikers do not use lights in the dark and pedestrians seldom do, if ever.   

A map of the trail system is posted at various locations, but Google Maps and Satellite view is more useful and convenient these days.

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