By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant
For almost 30 years, if you wanted a quick escape from the busy sounds of our growing community, you probably headed for the peaceful solitude of Lick Creek Park, the area’s premier nature preserve. If you’ve been there in recent months, your search for serenity may have been interrupted by the sounds of hammers and bulldozers.
But don’t worry, it’s only temporary — and the results will be worth it.
The 515-acre park on East Rock Prairie Road is undergoing extensive improvements, including the construction of a long-awaited nature center.
Established in 1987 as part of land negotiations to create a city industrial area, Lick Creek Park displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. The park offers five miles of marked trails and provides opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study.
It’s also the city’s largest off-leash dog park.
Lick Creek Nature Center
In the 2008 bond election, residents overwhelmingly approved the $2.1 million Lick Creek Park Nature Center. The design was approved in 2014, but construction was delayed until an adequate water line could be installed for fire protection. Torrential rains last spring and summer caused additional delays.
Thankfully, the nature center’s construction and other improvements in the park are underway and are expected to be finished by May.
The nature center will soon be the park’s focal point and will provide citizens and visitors an educational opportunity to learn about the animals and plants that call the park home. Features include a 2,400-square foot building with a meeting room, restrooms, indoor and outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater and native plant displays.
As a part of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to help save the threatened butterfly population, the park will include a monarch-friendly demonstration garden and a butterfly trail with abundant milkweed — the butterfly’s host plant — and other nectar-producing plants. The site will be a prime spot to watch the monarchs’ annual migration and metamorphosis.
The rerouting of trails will improve the flow and create a major pathway that connects the nature center to the park’s west entrance at Pebble Creek Parkway, which is the trailhead for the Lick Creek Hike and Bike Trail that winds more than five miles across town to Creek View Park.
Trail surfaces also will be upgraded, and new signage and maps will guide visitors through the trail system.
Meanwhile, informational signage throughout the park will identify trees, plants, birds, insects, butterflies, and wildlife. Benches along trails and at each trail intersection will allow visitors to pause and enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery.
Bicycle racks will also be accessible at the four major entry ways.
Don’t wait to enjoy Lick Creek Park
Although the improvements won’t be finished until the spring, the park remains open. You can still enjoy the park’s natural design, but be cautious and obey signs noting construction and closed areas.
Portions of the park that are closed include the Rock Prairie Road entrance and parking lot, Yaupon Loop Trail, and part of Post Oak Trail. Parking is available in the equestrian lot off Rock Prairie Road northwest of the main entrance.
The improvements and amenities will enhance one of College Station’s favorite recreational areas and make it more accessible – and enjoyable — for young and old alike.
For more on College Station’s park system, go to cstx.gov/parks.
About the Author
Hallie Kutch is in her second year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.
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