Denton 380 Greenbelt Update

| July 30, 2021

One thing is certain when it comes to solving the nearly decade-long problems plaguing the Denton Greenbelt; nothing is certain, the future is not bright and we may not live long enough to put our shades on and float down the Elm Fork of the Trinity River unencumbered.

That said, I managed to gather more knowledge on the Greenbelt and the thinking going on behind the scenes. This came after a meeting with an official from the City of Denton this week. 

What is happening right now? Absolutely nothing. But, THE PLAN is to have the USACE “do a study” of the waterway, and determine what the problems are and what can and WHAT CAN’T be done to make the Greenbelt a viable recreational area – as it was imagined to be in the beginning.

It is my understanding the study is to determine not only the problems, but the solutions for those problems. So far they do not include dynamite (much more on that later) or tannerite

What is interesting is the somewhat convoluted structure of leases and subleases that dominate this stretch of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River – from Lake Ray Roberts to Lewisville Lake. Get this …

Private land owners, who owned the land before Lake Ray Roberts was impounded, lease their lands along the Greenbelt TO the City of Denton. The City of Denton turns around and leases that land to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The all encompassing US Army Corps of Engineers, in my interpretation, can and does exert control (and no control) over the entire area.  Ray Roberts is a watershed for Denton and Dallas County, so the priority is always going to be water quality, literally, through-and-through. You may recall that I ran into Dallas scientists testing Ray Roberts water in the upper reaches – Buck Creek Access – of Ray Roberts recently. While they were unfriendly to my questions, they did shed light on just how important Ray Roberts water is to Dallas. The bigger the government entity, the less cooperation they receive from owners, almost without exception.

After the Denton Greenbelt helicopter rescue last month, the liability issue (caused by the Greenbelt log jams) when it certainly arises, will not be an orphan. The liability will find parents all around, top down. Lawyers are waiting …


I was informed that some of the major water releases, the biblical ones, were attempts by the USACE to dislodge the log jams from the natural route of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Of course that did not work, and I believe that it actually contributed to more debris being caught in the piles. That didn’t work.

The way we arrived here is by the official governmental policies at the State and Federal level: “Let Nature Take its Course.” It would have been hard to predict the failure of that policy going into it, why? Because we would have had to been able to predict the weather twenty-to-thirty years into the future as well. Drought, not cutting, produced the deadfall that was washed into piles during the years of biblical flooding – case closed. NOW, management will be necessary. Hands-on GOVERNMENT management and intervention that may appear, to the average Red Texan, to be excessive and even intrusive. We’re living with the opposite of that right now. That didn’t work.


I’ve been offered a “seat at the table” when it comes to the Denton Trinity Greenbelt’s future, by raising my head above the foxhole if for no other reason. I am now in the loop for meetings, news, news releases and I will be part of the grist for the government’s milling of information, delays and committees that may or may not arrive at a solution in this decade. My “seat” is the fisherman’s seat, which means presenting problems and solutions from OUR perspective, and to benefit the fishing experience along the Denton Greenbelt Corridor.

I need more help than ever when it comes to you, the readers, knowledge and experience, and experiences – historical and current – of this stretch of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. My official role in the grist mill will be to bring the “Fisherman’s / Waterman’s Perspective” on the problems on the Denton Greenbelt to these meetings and committees. I need information at all levels – current conditions / historical facts / water quality from my scientist friends / recommendations and all that goes with OUR perspective on this waterway. Let this word go forth: I need a DRONE PILOT as soon as humanly possible.

I was informed that I could be the “third” perspective on the Denton Greenbelt, rounding out the Dallas Paddlers and the all-powerful and funded Greenbelt Equestrian group. From what I know of these two organizations: 1) I know nothing about the Dallas Paddlers interest, Do you?, 2) The Equestrians officially have zero thoughts on the waterway. Their interest lies in the trails. I WONDER if we need some mountain bike groups to take a baton as well? They tend to get things done, and have historically had good organizations and volunteers.

SIDEBAR: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation’s Response? – Crickets

My fruitless foray into seeking any help, or even a RESPONSE from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation has left a bad taste in my mouth. Who are these people, and why don’t they respond to situations, like the Denton 380 Greenbelt disaster? Their goals, stated on their website:

“Conserving Texas’ Wild Things and Wild Places

Since 1991, we have invested more than $215 million to conserve our state’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources. See the impact we are making and learn how you can help transform Texas, both now and for future generations.”

COMMENTARY: My impression, based on zero response from those in charge at TPWF in the Dallas office? This just isn’t “exotic” enough to register on their flat-brimmed-beardo brains. And it’s way too close to home as well. Everybody needs a weekend getaway right? Thirty miles from Dallas? That’s just not far enough from Daddy’s house. Feel free to correct me, IF I’m wrong. They are no help, and don’t even respond in any way to multiple contacts. You guessed correctly; I won’t be renewing my membership. Sad.


There are only a few solutions to the log jams at the Denton Greenbelt. We already know what didn’t work, the “Let Nature Take Its Course” approach. (When I wrap this all up, I will be on the side of the opposite approach: A Highly Managed Natural Experience.)

Some are highly mechanical (talk about a carbon footprint!), and what I would call, “old school” approaches. I am rapidly settling in on my own opinion on how to solve the problem of the Trinity River log jams, and the one I am settling on is … extremely radical. But I will make the case for it in future posts on the government’s ideas, and I will make a strong case for the radical, FIRE IN THE HOLE! solution as the best option for the problems plaguing the Trinity River along the Greenbelt.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Causes, Denton Trinity River Greenbelt Corridor, Life Observed, Science and Environmental, Texas Water Conservation

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Flyfishing Texas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading