Joppa Park and the Great Trinity Forest Wetland Trails
After the week of rain, we couldn’t let a beautiful sunny Friday pass us by. On March 2nd, the Conservancy staff took a field trip to venture into the Great Trinity River Forest and explore. First stop, Joppa Park. Overlooking the wetlands we soaked up the sun, cool breezes and spotted ducks, egrets, herons, and so many other birds.
Next we made our way over to Little Lemmon Lake. The waters were high but that made it easier to see fish and other water wildlife. Our afternoon ended on the AT&T trail where blooming trees lined the River and provided shade from the sun.
Overall it was a great day to experience Dallas’ natural gems.
About the Area
Joppa, pronounced as “Joppee”, was settled in the 1860s and established in 1872 as a Freedman Town. Located in southeast Dallas at the edge of the Great Trinity Forest and the banks of the Trinity River, the community was developed by former slaves – a large majority from the Millermore Plantation.
In October 2016 Joppa was recognized as a historical site by the Texas Historical Commission and is one of only three Freedman communities still left in Texas. This area spent decades without running water and access to city services because a rail yard bordered one side of the town, while the Trinity surrounded the other. For years there was only one access point to and from the City of Dallas, but now the community has two unobstructed entry points. One from the Great Trinity Forest Way and the other at Lindfield Road Bridge; both allowing a peak into the natural beauty of this historic area.
If you make your way to Joppa and the Great Trinity Forest, make sure to check out the Joppa Preserve. Established in 1986 the 318.5-acre metropolitan park established the longest paved path in the Forest called the Trinity River Spine Trail. It can be accessed by the Loop 12 boat ramp, River Oaks Park, and Simpson Stuart Road.
The trail roughly follows the shoreline of Little Lemon Lake and Lemon Lake and has been known to showcase some wildlife including the Roseate Spoonbill. Alligators have even been spotted near dusk and dawn, so proceed with caution in those areas! Plus, if you’re a movie buff you can impress your friends by visiting The Great Trinity Trail Bridge that connects the two lakes because it’s the location of the Texas Ranger scene in Bonnie and Clyde.
Make sure to tag us (#trinityparkconservancy) when you post pictures from your excursions! We want to see your perspective of this special area!