Since its creation in 2009, this preserve has become an ideal escape for runners, hikers, cyclists and photographers alike. Its abundant wildlife and picturesque views make Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve the pride of Plano.
But Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve is more than just open space. It’s where a Plano resident may have participated in her first 5K or where parents taught their children how to ride a bike. Over the years, the park has played host to everything from balloon festivals to cover band concerts. And thanks to the vision and best practices of our park planners and city leaders, the preserve will receive a few updates to foster future enjoyment without disrupting the nature of one’s visit.
Improvements to enhance connectivity throughout the preserve began this month. Perhaps the most exciting part of this project is that it makes way for another exciting project on the northeast hillside. Once funding becomes available, Plano Parks & Recreation will work to create a new nature-themed playground off Los Rios Boulevard across from Fire Station 11 complete with parking, a pavilion and restrooms.
Details of the $7 million hillside project currently taking place can be found here.
Balancing recreation with preservation
As a department, we work to uphold design improvements consistent with our park master plan. This plan incorporates passive open space, user accessibility and environmental stewardship. When combined, these elements foster an ideal locale for activities such as running, hiking, fishing and quiet observation, Chief Park Planner Renee Jordan said.
“Open space for passive recreation use is extremely important to the City of Plano and so is providing access to that open space,” she said. “Plano’s two city nature preserves are certified National Wildlife Habitats and they are also certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries. We are committed to maintaining our certifications and can continue to do so while providing more amenities and access to the abundant land.”
Until 2007, the preserve had been used for agricultural purposes, livestock grazing and hay production. Over the last decade under the vision and management our department, the land use here has transitioned to enhancing and protecting resources rather than cultivating them. Today we have a more diverse ecosystem and will continue to as we enhance and encourage these emerging native, non-invasive plants to become more established in the future.
Destination playground potential
The City of Plano has a lot of great neighborhood parks, but one thing that we have been lacking is a large park with unique features, Urban Forester Angela Kralik said. The hillside project will be just that. Its main theme will be “nature play,” which encourages kids to use their own creativity and natural surroundings to create play, Kralik said.
“This is so valuable for child development and problem-solving skills that are necessary as adults. I always think of it as, for children, their job is to play.’ It’s what they need, in their own fun way, to grow for them to develop mentally, physically, socially and emotionally,” she said. “I love that we are creating a space for Plano’s children that will assist them in that whole-person growth that is so valuable for them.”
About Plano Parks & Recreation
The nationally accredited Plano Parks & Recreation Department is a key contributor of Plano’s reputation as a city of excellence. Parks and Recreation enhances the lives of residents and visitors by offering outstanding parks, trails and facilities, a variety of enriching programs, special events and activities that contribute to the health, well-being and quality of life in Plano. For more information, please visit planoparks.org.
Visitors to Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve have a number of grass paths like this to choose from for exploration. Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve opened in 2009.
The park is an ideal spot for bird-watching.