Residents throughout Dallas know White Rock Lake is a great place to get back to nature. Later this year, residents all over the state, and perhaps even the country, will know it, too.

The park, along with 12 other locations around the Metroplex, has been selected as a site on the Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail, to be debuted this fall by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The trail is modeled after the highly successful Texas Coastal Birding Trail, which brings thousands of tourists to the state each year.

Neighborhood resident and master naturalist Becky Rader was instrumental in making the lake part of the trail. She nominated it as a site on behalf of the Dallas Parks Department.

“This has been in the works for almost two years now,” she says. “We did it because we wanted to spread the word about what we have here. Being included is a huge honor and really speaks well of the wonderful management we have at the lake.”

As part of the application process, she sent TPWD a list of plants, birds and animals that could be found at the lake, along with a map of the area and information about nearby attractions and facilities available for tourists.

An evaluation team visited the park last spring to get a look at the place, and the parks department was later notified that the lake was accepted as a trail site.

Rader says she expects a noticeable increase in visitors to the lake and surrounding areas once the trail sites are released to the public.

“We’re anticipating that once it’s publicized, plenty of people will be coming to see it,” she says. “It might be educators taking kids on field trips, nature photographers, families driving in or even people who live in town but have never bothered to visit the lake. And there’s a whole, huge community of avid bird watchers, who travel everywhere you can think of. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who go on these trails.”