After the Flood

In the past month, extensive flooding forced the closure of many of our favorite outdoor recreational areas for extended amounts of time, including several sections of the Violet Crown Trail. As the Violet Crown Trail (VCT) is your trail, we at HCC want you to feel secure in the steps we take to protect your safety and the integrity of your trail when flooding occurs.

Your safety is our utmost priority. HCC works closely with our partners at the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to evaluate trail conditions along the VCT and align our closure decisions with their recommendations. When storms occur, there are many reasons to close the trail. Often, we close the trail due to the immense and unsafe volume of water moving through waterways along the trail. On May 8, 2019 the water flowing along the trail at the Barton Creek Greenbelt rose to a historic 11 feet (flood stage is at 8 feet), while travelling at a swift 10,000 cubic feet per second. After flood water subsides, trail conditions can remain dangerous as heavy rain can cause mud or rock slides or leave dangerous debris scattered about the trail. The May 8 storms damaged the low water crossing bridge over Slaughter Creek on the Slaughter Lane section of the VCT, rendering it temporarily impassable. We are working as quickly as possible to repair the crossing and reopen the trail. Before you use the VCT after inclement weather, you can find up to date information about closures along the VCT on our Violet Crown Trail Facebook page and website.

Protecting your investment in the VCT, whether it’s monetary, volunteer service, or just time spent enjoying the trail with your family, is essential to HCC. To preserve the trail and to mitigate damage sustained during flood events, HCC is committed to maintaining this state-of-the-art trail. To prevent the trail surface from eroding when awash with rain, we used a composite of crushed-granite and a stabilizer called StaLok. StaLok increases the durability of the trail while still maintaining its permeable nature allowing water to absorb into the ground. The VCT is the first trail in the area to use this sophisticated material to prevent trail erosion. Although the low-water crossing over Slaughter Creek was recently slightly damaged, it performed as designed. The railing was purposely installed in sections so that any unforeseeable force – in this case, a tree limb-would not take out the entire railing. The design is the most economical and considerably shortens the trail’s downtime, so you and your family can get back out on the trail as soon as possible. Although it is impossible for us here in Central Texas to predict the weather, with strategic planning and the right materials, we have built a trail that will stick around long after the flood.

If you would like to learn more about the thought and the process to build the VCT, join us for a Walk-and-Talk. You can find the upcoming schedule here.

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Fleetwood Jacobs

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