Goat Island Preserve is a comma of 348 acres hugging the Trinity River as it meanders through an unincorporated portion of far southeastern Dallas County. It's surrounded by gravel pits and crisscrossed with crude four-wheeler trails but is otherwise a rather wild and seldom visited tangle of land.
County officials are looking for ways to attract more visitors to the preserve, which it added to its open space program in 1993 and promptly left alone. They're proposing $45,000 in modest improvements including a monument sign at the entrance; rectangular limestone blocks to cordon off the parking area and serve as benches; the removal of the remains of a demolished building; and the construction of an asphalt parking lot.
The main attraction, though, is one that the county won't be paying for: a network of mountain-bike trails.
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The trails will be the responsibility of the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association which, according to a briefing scheduled to be delivered to commissioners on Tuesday, has agreed to partner with the county to design, build, and maintain the trails.
"Having DORBA involved at Goat Island will not only create an amenity that can be used by the public, but it will also bring with it DORBA's active membership who will ensure that the bicycle paths are used," writes Rose Adame, the county's park and open space administrator. "Such activity and presence will thus help discourage the illegal dumping and hunting that occasionally occurs at the preserve."
If things go well at Goat Island (which, for the record, neither has goats nor is an island), the county would look at adding trails at the 518-acre Riverbend Preserve as well.
And for DORBA, it's another place to ride, though some members have been making the trip. One of them reports being hit by a feral hog. That seems to have been an isolated incident but, if you take a trip down there, beware.