Loop Trails and Site Lines
A clear system of distinct trails is needed to provide orientation, especially amongst overgrown areas that are found on the Phil Hardberger Park site.
Associated with the restored native landscape patches, the four loop trails that orchestrate movement through the Park provide passive learning as unique site features are revealed and highlighted.
On the east parcel, the Water Loop traces the movement of water through the site. The trail leads people through the water cleansing gardens, where they can learn about water harvesting, filtering and reuse in the Park. The Geology Loop is situated atop a ridge and descends to where honeycomb layers of Buda limestone are exposed under the canopy of the restored cedar elm woodland. On the west parcel, the Oak Loop encircles the Austin Chalk outcrop at the highest point of the site weaving through the heritage oak woodland and ashe juniper stands. The Grassland Loop meanders through the restored oak savanna linking the north and south fields.
The four loop trails vary in length and surface. Some loop trails will be managed as soft trails, while others will be a hard-packed, permeable surface to maintain ADA accessibility. The trails will accommodate emergency access and all terrain vehicles for maintenance and security. Additional trails of a finer scale will support and branch out from these loops lending another level of discovery throughout the Park.
In addition to the loop trails, the Salado Creek Greenway extension connects the existing greenway bike trail that begins north at Huebner Road through the east side of the Park to Wurzbach Parkway, and in future phases, continuing south to Walker Ranch. Phil Hardberger Park is the most significant public park at the northern reach of Salado Creek spurring the integration of a trailhead for the paved bike path at the proposed Salado Creek Classroom to accommodate local and regional visitors to the new greenway.
Site lines form the counterpart to the four loop trails. While the loop trails meander through the distinct landscape patches and maximize distances, site lines are trails that are designed to lead people from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in the shortest amount of time. They serve as direct routes from one programmatic room to another and connect the four loops to each other. The longest site line connects the west to the east parcel, extending over Wurzbach Parkway to Salado Creek. This three quarter mile site line along with the collection of other site lines would vary in surface types, some made of soft organic material while others would be covered with hard-packed and permeable materials to accommodate ADA accessibility, strollers and emergency vehicles.