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Thread: Saving Big Spring In The Great Trinity Forest

  1. #1
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Saving Big Spring In The Great Trinity Forest

    New effort underway to help preserve one of the only natural places left in Dallas. Big Spring, what I have often called "White Rock Spring", "Pemberton Spring", "Bryan's Spring". Big Spring is a pristine perched aquifer natural spring in Dallas that is surrounded by ancient trees and an ancient Caddoan site.

    The land was first claimed by the Beeman family when Texas was a Republic. A daughter, Margaret Beeman married John Neely Bryan founder of Dallas and they lived at the Spring site for some time. Upon John Neely Bryan's passing, his widow sold the land to EC Pemberton. A descendant of the Pembertons sold a parcel of the original Pemberton homestead to the city for parkland. Members of the Pemberton family still live down in that area today.

    https://www.facebook.com/SavePembertonsBigSpring


    The idea of preserving the spring area and the rich history there was always forefront in the minds of everyone. Recently, with plans for the Texas Horse Park and trails, that message seems to have been lost. Plans to build a fuel dump just above the spring, manure and compost heaps were very wrong. Over time and with a lot of effort most of the structures that would threaten the spring have been moved elsewhere.

    Surveyors keep coming back though, taking soil samples, driving stakes marked "barn" and "arena" in places that we were promised there would never be a building. Hmmmm. Something is not right here.


    It's a worthy cause and is supported by what I would call the very best advocates for such a place. Last weekend, a number of people visited the Spring site. Many have been long time preservationists and conservationists for the Trinity River. Also along were many of the advocates for White Rock Lake. The ones who saved Winfrey Point and revitalized White Rock Lake over the last several decades into a premier urban park. Many of those at that gathering are household names to Dallasites. I'm really impressed that they have taken such interest! So many of us have busy lives away from the rivers and lakes that we visit on weekends. That meeting of the minds has no agenda or affiliation with any group or cause. Just the well being and preservation of one very special place in Dallas.

    It's with a heavy heart that I must tell you that Big Spring is threatened by development. What kind of development is still unclear. It would be cool if the city just told the citizens of Dallas what the real plans are. We want to avoid a mishap with a mistaken subcontractor bulldozing the place. The city claims that many of it's survey stakes, placed by official city employed and uniformed surveyors with the Public Works and Transportation Department, were placed in error. Mistakes like that cannot be made here. Not this place.

    Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there. I have taken many people from the forum here to visit the area in the past and thought I would post this in case you were interested. I did not start the Facebook page, I believe Ted Barker did. Good stuff.

  2. #2
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    ^Thanks.

    The city should build a park around a spring like this.
    The mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.

  3. #3
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon View Post
    ^Thanks.

    The city should build a park around a spring like this.
    I think they should just leave it alone and be in a totally natural state as it has been forever. No trail nearby. No benches. No amenities. All you have to do is just leave it alone. For the last 175 years that European Americans have been through that very spot, no one has messed with it. They have not built upon it, fenced it or manipulated it.

    The coolest thing about all this is a brain trust of the very best people, the world experts on this kind of thing. I'm not one of them, I shut up when I'm around any of them and just listen. Even more interesting is that all these folks have known of each other for years but never met in person. So, at that gathering, all these scientists, authors, scholars etc met.

    If anyone wants to talk mountain biking the river or South Dallas sidewalk BBQ, I'm your guy. Anything else, those other folks are literally the very best on Earth at these things. All very nice, very cool people too. Total grassroots type of thing, which makes it even neater!

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    High-Rise Member muncien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CasperITL View Post
    I think they should just leave it alone and be in a totally natural state as it has been forever. No trail nearby. No benches. No amenities. All you have to do is just leave it alone. For the last 175 years that European Americans have been through that very spot, no one has messed with it. They have not built upon it, fenced it or manipulated it.

    The coolest thing about all this is a brain trust of the very best people, the world experts on this kind of thing. I'm not one of them, I shut up when I'm around any of them and just listen. Even more interesting is that all these folks have known of each other for years but never met in person. So, at that gathering, all these scientists, authors, scholars etc met.

    If anyone wants to talk mountain biking the river or South Dallas sidewalk BBQ, I'm your guy. Anything else, those other folks are literally the very best on Earth at these things. All very nice, very cool people too. Total grassroots type of thing, which makes it even neater!
    Unfortunately, I think 'leaving it alone' opens the door to things like this happening. The best way to prevent natural areas like this from being destroyed is to increase awareness of them. If you leave it alone, people will forget about it as soon as the immediate threat has passed, but intrusions to it will continue to resurface down the road... and perhaps without the watchful eye of a few there to stop it in time.
    To Tat's point, a public park around the site, with primary connections via hike/bike trail can keep up awareness and prevent abuse if done right. We've come a long way in this arena and we shouldn't assume such would be detrimental. My old hometown in Florida has a similar spring (although far more prominent) that was abused years ago, but is now a protected state park. If it weren't for the park, it would be nothing more than a bottomless dumping ground with kids swimming in polluted water. My though on it anyway..

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    Super Moderator Tnekster's Avatar
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    I am assuming this spring is a natural "go to" spot for wildlife in the area?

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    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member AeroD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muncien View Post
    Unfortunately, I think 'leaving it alone' opens the door to things like this happening. The best way to prevent natural areas like this from being destroyed is to increase awareness of them. If you leave it alone, people will forget about it as soon as the immediate threat has passed, but intrusions to it will continue to resurface down the road... and perhaps without the watchful eye of a few there to stop it in time.
    To Tat's point, a public park around the site, with primary connections via hike/bike trail can keep up awareness and prevent abuse if done right. We've come a long way in this arena and we shouldn't assume such would be detrimental. My old hometown in Florida has a similar spring (although far more prominent) that was abused years ago, but is now a protected state park. If it weren't for the park, it would be nothing more than a bottomless dumping ground with kids swimming in polluted water. My though on it anyway..
    I gotta disagree. I am with CITL on this.

    You should go down there one day - perhaps with CITL - you will get it as to why it should be left alone.

    If I had the means I'd buy out the Pembertons neighbors and leave the land alone and let nature reclaim it.
    Tighten the female dog!

  7. #7
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeroD View Post
    I gotta disagree. I am with CITL on this.
    If CITL defers to another regarding anything in that forest, that's usually enough to change my mind. I'm with him, too.

    I think they should just leave it alone and be in a totally natural state as it has been forever. No trail nearby. No benches. No amenities.
    I still think almost all the land in between I-45 and SH 175 should be held in a working natural state, well actually that would be a minimum of 50 miles East and West of the Trinity River closed to development from Irving to Trinity Bay.
    The mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.

  8. #8
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muncien View Post
    Unfortunately, I think 'leaving it alone' opens the door to things like this happening. The best way to prevent natural areas like this from being destroyed is to increase awareness of them. If you leave it alone, people will forget about it as soon as the immediate threat has passed, but intrusions to it will continue to resurface down the road... and perhaps without the watchful eye of a few there to stop it in time.
    To Tat's point, a public park around the site, with primary connections via hike/bike trail can keep up awareness and prevent abuse if done right. We've come a long way in this arena and we shouldn't assume such would be detrimental. My old hometown in Florida has a similar spring (although far more prominent) that was abused years ago, but is now a protected state park. If it weren't for the park, it would be nothing more than a bottomless dumping ground with kids swimming in polluted water. My though on it anyway..
    One of the best Dallas historians around, MC Toyer, great great grandson of John Neely Bryan, earlier this week began the formal process for securing the first of what we hope are two Texas Historical Markers for the site. It's a long process and he has been assembling his historical documentation for over a decade for a historical marker.

    The Native American site there should be protected under local, state and federal law, already.

    In the past I(and others) have been able to keep bad private folks from ruining the Spring site. It has been tiring, hard and exhausting work. Those folks that were caught are in a heap of ongoing trouble, even a year on. But what do you do, who do you call when you are worried about the city ruining the place? Who do you go to? I spent an inordinate amount of time getting rid of the bad guys down there(don't ask what I had to do) but I think it's in poor taste if the city starts doing the same thing for which others were prosecuted.

    Check out that facebook page if you want to know more. You'll be surprised about who all is involved. Some of those involved want to remain off the internet with it as they are very well known people in the Dallas area. AeroD was there last weekend, his second trip down there!

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    High-Rise Member muncien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon View Post
    If CITL defers to another regarding anything in that forest, that's usually enough to change my mind. I'm with him, too.



    I still think almost all the land in between I-45 and SH 175 should be held in a working natural state, well actually that would be a minimum of 50 miles East and West of the Trinity River closed to development from Irving to Trinity Bay.
    I hope y'all are right. Unfortunately, my experience with 'leave it be' is that the only ones who listen are the law abiding ones. And what you end up with is a river full of tires and plastic trash bags... and no law abiding people to be found. When my company and I did Trinity River clean up (just west of Bachman lake) last weekend we pulled seven tons of trash out. And believe me... that is a 'leave it be' area.
    On the other hand... the areas along Campion trail have seen a dramatic drop in illegal dumping and are actually some of the most tidy portions of the river.
    Last edited by muncien; 03 May 2013 at 05:47 PM.

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    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    The city is missing the point again, with this new memo:

    http://dallascityhall.com/committee_...nst_051313.pdf

    It outlines plans for a fence around the spring site. I don't think they understand that the "Spring Complex" is just a component of the overall setting there. A Native American site runs across it, hundreds of yards in length north to south. In addition animals use the spring as a water source and animal burrows are built into the immediate drop around the spring. Deer drink from it, large birds like herons fish out of it. A fence would just ruin it. There has never been a fence. Ever. Five hundred years from now, which is not that long for the Spring, I wonder how dumb that fence would look.

  11. #11
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CasperITL View Post
    The city is missing the point again, with this new memo.
    Ya, the point is to protect from the city.
    The mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.

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    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member AeroD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon View Post
    Ya, the point is to protect from the city.
    http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dalla...207610921.html
    Tighten the female dog!

  13. #13
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    The City of Dallas showed up woefully unprepared yesterday for a Dallas Park Board meeting for funding the Horse Park. The presentation they gave appeared to use the wrong architectural plans which showed buildings, fuel dumps and compost sheds that would destroy Big Spring. The spokesperson for the city misidentified Big Spring on the map, discounted much of the archeology, history and interest in protecting the site. Unfortunate that the Park Board went ahead and voted for the plans, sight unseen given the very disorganized and incorrect presentation.

    Unless I'm missing something and it's all a big trick.

    I can disprove the city employee's entire presentation on a point by point basis if needed.
    Last edited by CasperITL; 17 May 2013 at 11:49 AM.

  14. #14
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    KERA story on Big Spring and such

    http://keranews.org/post/dallas-and-...-unique-spring

    Met with the city yesterday 7/31 and had a productive meeting at City Hall with many department heads and city management. Glad to see that the city has the same vision for the Spring that so many of the citizens have. Looks like the Spring will get a historic landmark status of some kind and a perpetual preservation status forever. Details still need to be hashed out with city officials but this is a very good move forward. City is promising to do an awesome job in handling the preservation of the Spring(fingers crossed).

    Still lots of things to work through including an on-site field trip visit in mid-august to determine the preservation and landmark parameters. Should be interesting as some of you can imagine since I have taken a number of you on trips there. This time, the landowner, the city, will be the ones on the trip.

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    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member AeroD's Avatar
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    Hats off to Ben.
    Tighten the female dog!

  16. #16
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Hats off to a lot of people who are still working harder than ever to protect the place.

    The city put the water data for the Spring property, including the Horse Park next door online:

    http://wheredoesitgo.com/pdfs/Summar...Data072013.pdf

    The summary on the first page does not tell the whole story. The samples obtained on May 2, 2012 were part of a search warrant executed on the property. I have mentioned in other threads the slaughterhouse operating there. The search warrant spells it all out. Concern arises in that the warrant was listed as 818 Pemberton Hill and not 811 Pemberton Hill.



    Big Spring is in danger from all this do to all the chemicals, animal slaughter and dumping that occurred. To compound the issue, there is a lawsuit regarding the city and the same individual regarding dumped material nearby. To double compound it, there has been a landslide of that pile which recently knocked out a section of fence between the private land and the city owned Spring tract.

    City and the defendant are locking horns about all of it, lost in the mix is protecting the Spring. I'm not going to cleanup that landslide if a lawsuit and injunction is involved. If the movement of the landslide is not stopped it will begin to encroach and cover a Native American area this fall.

    This is a story far greater in scope than Columbia Packing. One that happened on city owned property. There will be long term questions about the health and safety of the grounds there next door at the Horse Park because of this. It's really bad.

    My concern is only for the Spring and the fragile prehistoric site around it. I have to put blinders on and not get wrapped around the axle with whatever feuds are looming next door.

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    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Last edited by CasperITL; 17 August 2013 at 09:50 AM.

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    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Jim Schutze does a story about the Barker Brothers for this week's Dallas Observer, good article and really gives you a feel for what they are like. Really good, smart guys:

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/2013-0...-hall-and-win/

  19. #19
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Good article in today's DMN about Big Spring and the Horse Park pollution

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/commu...to-dispute.ece

    Think I have mentioned before that Columbia Packing and their pollution is nothing compared to what happened at the Horse Park with environmental damage. Worst part is that it happened on city property!

    City was leasing the land to the tenant, 75 acres for $300 a month. Ummm hmmm. That's not per acre. That's 75 acres. 4 bucks an acre per month.
    Last edited by CasperITL; 01 October 2013 at 08:48 AM.

  20. #20
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Here is a photo from Sunday, this is at the Horse Park. Tree in the foreground is possibly 150-200 year old Post Oak. Volunteers were working to get slices of the trunk for tree ring data which will give us excellent insight into the weather, climate and much more about Dallas dating back to a time before pioneers arrived. Only had till dawn on Monday to get the sections as the debris was to be moved Monday morning. Seen at the chainsaw is Sean Fitzgerald, well known photographer and behind him is Dr Tim Dalbey, archeologist. Work was supervised by Geo-Marine on-site with us.

  21. #21
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Roy Appleton of Dallas Morning News mentions Big Spring here after the city makes a short update presentation:

    http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2...-delayed.html/

    Lots going on at the moment, the accelerator has been stuck on the floorboard with no let up since this whole thing started.

  22. #22
    Skyscraper Member CasperITL's Avatar
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    Exposing new people to the Great Trinity Forest is sort of hard, especially sharing some of the more remote and obscure places with new faces. We have been doing it this spring through photography in the GTF at the Audubon Center, Buckeye Trail and Big Spring. I think over 100 people have attended these events which go deep into the woods. A great talent pool of people have attended these events from all over the State of Texas. The latest one was last weekend at Big Spring, it was about an 18 hour marathon event from pre-dawn till well after dark. This was planned as a peak wildflower weekend event. When everything was in maximum bloom. Some of the photos are in the album here:

    http://www.meetup.com/NANPA-Nature-P...otos/22237972/

    The Big Spring event had lots of different weather from early morning fog, to hot noon bright skies, to an early evening thunderstorm. There are 40 acres that encompass Big Spring. Every square yard of the place had flowers on it.


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