Local Nature Center Gets New Boardwalk

The opening of the Marty Leonard Lotus Marsh Boardwalk | Image by Stephen Montoya

The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refugee hosted a ribbon cutting on Monday in honor of Earth Day and the opening of a new $3 million boardwalk.

The nature center celebrated the opening of the Marty Leonard Lotus Marsh Boardwalk, reported Fort Worth Magazine.

Built in 1964, the nature center has forests, prairies, and wetlands spread across 3,261 acres. It has over 20 miles of hiking trails and attracts over 80,000 visitors each year.

The new boardwalk overlooks Lake Worth and enables visitors to see many types of wildlife. It also features a circular deck path and awning, according to FW magazine.

The boardwalk is named after Marty Leonard, founder of Lenoard’s Museum and daughter of Leonard’s Department Store co-founder Marvin Leonard.

Leonard told FW Magazine that the expansion was “a dream come true.”

“I love it myself personally because I’m a nature lover and a nature person. We’re so fortunate in our community here and communities around us to have this as a place to take refuge,” she added.

The grand opening featured a ribbon cutting attended by Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner Bobby Patton.

“What we’re doing today is we’re saying to those of the past, we have fulfilled our responsibility to you because we stand on your shoulders,” Richard Zavala, director of Fort Worth’s park and recreation department, told FW magazine.

“And if you think about this facility 60 years ago, [in] 1964, the first 381 acres were set aside, and we’re about to reach 4,000 acres out here,” he added.

The Fort Worth City Council decided to name the boardwalk after Leonard in 2021, per the City of Fort Worth.

The City of Fort Worth said that expansion of the boardwalk was funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Meta, Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center, gas lease funds, the nature center’s capital projects fund, and the city’s general capital projects fund.

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