Waco: Is Cameron Park shrinking as a result of private development?

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Tens of thousand of people visit Cameron Park in Waco every year to hike, bike and horseback ride, but some are now concerned the park could be shrinking as the private land around it is developed.

Outdoor enthusiasts have been using trails on that land for years.

With more and more people looking for places to build, and land prices sky high, some of that property is selling.

This is making room for families, but those who use the park regularly are concerned some of their favorite places are disappearing.

“I almost cried. It really hurts my heart how they’re just destroying this. It’s so beautiful, really rustic and wild. It really hurt,” said Silvia Gallegos, who runs in the park regularly.

One of the trails Gallegos and her friend Michelle Harrell use will soon be a part of someone’s homestead.

The dirt work has already begun.

“When it’s gone it’s gone and this is a big area that we hike, run and bike in - and lots of people do - and we’re gonna miss it,” Harrell said.

Cameron Park is 416 acres of wilderness that features more than 20 miles of trails.

Johnathon Cook, director of Waco’s Parks and Recreation Department, said trail users still have a lot to chose from.

“In fact, the city last year made a deal on the ranch property which added another 30 acres,” said Cook, “We really have to work hand in hand with the neighbors here in Cameron Park.”

The trail system is ever-evolving and we’re constantly looking for ways to reroute, improve trails, give trails a rest and that’s what this opportunity is,” Cook said.

According to Cook, his department is currently working on a massive project that involves more trails in Cameron Park and in other areas throughout the city.

The master plan will connect various trail systems all over the city, and Cook believes when it’s complete, it will be another feature that visitors and residents alike will be pleased with.

Meanwhile, park enthusiasts like Harrell hope they can co-exist with the new neighbors.

“Let them build their house and leave the trails and we’ll run around them and leave them alone,” Harrell said.

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