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Terry Hershey Park History PDF Print E-mail

The land occupied by Precinct 3's Terry Hershey Park was acquired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s as part of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs project. The Corps of Engineers later deeded this land to the Harris County Flood Control District. Harris County began planning to develop a park on the property in 1985 and eventually leased 500 acres along the banks of Buffalo Bayou and South Mayde Creek from the Flood Control District in 1987.

Development of the first section of the hike and bike trail here was started by Commissioner Bob Eckels and continued by his successor, Elizabeth Ghrist. The park was then known as Buffalo Bayou Park. Commissioner Ghrist's successor, Steve Radack, initiated a major expansion of the trail system after he took office in 1989. It was Commissioner Radack who proposed changing the name to Terry Hershey Park to honor the conservationist who led the campaign in the 1960s to derail a plan to pave the banks of Buffalo Bayou as had been done earlier to portions of the banks of White Oak Bayou and Brays Bayou.

Additions to the trail since 1989 have brought the length of the system, including side trails, to approximately 12-1/2 miles. The layout extends from the Barker Dam on the west to Beltway 8 on the east. There are ten bridges. There are five grade separations: at Highway 6; at Eldridge Parkway; at Dairy Ashford; at Kirkwood and at Wilcrest. Parking lots are provided at Highway 6 and Beltway 8 (access off southbound tollway service road). Also, there are parking lots on Dairy Ashford on the south side of the bayou, and on the north and south sides of Memorial Drive at South Mayde Creek, and off the east bound I-10 service road at South Mayde Creek.

Work will begin soon on an extension of this trail that will take it under I-10, north to the top of the Addicks Dam where it will branch. There will be a branch to the east to Eldridge Parkway and a branch to the west connecting with Metro's Addicks Park and Ride Lot. This will make it possible for people to travel by bicycle from the neighborhoods around Wilcrest, Kirkwood, and Dairy Ashford to the park and ride lot, or to jobs in the oil company offices around Eldridge Parkway, if they choose to.

The Hike and Bike Trail is the main element in Terry Hershey Park. But there are other features, including restrooms, gazebos, a lighted walking trail, exercise stations, playground, and picnic sites. There is a walk-in sundial where your shadow will tell you the time if you stand on the appropriate stone (and if the sun is shining). This feature is in the section of the park between Memorial Drive and Interstate 10. It was suggested by Ormonde Smith, one of the regular users of Terry Hershey Park.

Terese "Terry" Hershey and her late husband Jacob "Jake" Hershey devoted a great deal of time, energy and money to conservation causes. They were founders of the Bayou Preservation Association. Mrs. Hershey is a former member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. She has been honored by many state and national organizations for her efforts to protect the environment. She and then Congressman George Bush defeated a proposal to channelize and pave Buffalo Bayou, in the 1960s, by persuading Congress not to provide the money for it.

Original Article: Harris County - Precinct Three - Commissioner Steve Radack