White Rock Lake

by Donny on October 7, 2010

White Rock Lake

For the Love of the Lake Office

1152 N. Buckner Blvd #123

Dallas, TX. 75218

(972) 622-SAVE (7283)

www.whiterocklake.org

White Rock Lake, in between Northwest Highway on the north side and Gaston Avenue on the south, and bordered by Garland Road and Buckner Boulevard on the east, is a big man made lake surrounded by parks, trails, and other interesting things. It has something to offer almost anyone. And the best part is that most of its free.

White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake

One major reason people visit White Rock Lake is to get in there exercise. There is a ten mile concrete path which runs around the whole lake. So it is a major draw for walkers, joggers and especially cyclists. White Rock Lake offers Dallas-ites beauty, fresh air, and plenty of room to roam. And there’s no exorbitant membership fee like at a fitness center.

Every year White Rock Lake plays host to a number of athletic events such as a marathon and a half-marathon. I’ll never forget a few years ago when the half-marathon was held on Valentine’s morning. It snowed like crazy. It was so heavy in some places that the street lights lost power. I was working as a volunteer at an aid station that morning. We were passing out water and Gatorade to the runners but it felt like we should have been handing out mugs of hot cocoa. When things got slow the other volunteers and I built a snowman and pelted each other with snowballs.

I like to go for a long brisk walk almost every morning but I don’t often go to White Rock Lake anymore. For one thing we moved further away. The other reason is that because it’s so popular it can get a little crowded. For my walks I prefer to go to Valley Creek Park in Mesquite which is much closer to where I live now. It’s smaller and there aren’t as many people around. But White Rock Lake is far far bigger than Valley Creek Park and has a lot more to offer.

The place my son and I like to go the most at White Rock Lake is called Sunset Bay. It’s filled with lots of beautiful and interesting waterfowl such as Pelicans, Ducks, Geese, Coots, and more. I think there is a small plaque near the dock area at Sunset Bay which lists some of the various birds there. The Pelicans are definitely the coolest. I never expected to see Pelicans in Dallas outside of the Dallas Zoo but there they are up close and personal. They are such big birds. If you are a bird enthusiast this is a great spot to visit. Bring your binoculars and a picnic blanket along. Just don’t bring bread to feed the birds. I think there’s some park or state regulation against it. Sometimes, however, my son and I find corn or feed on the ground which the park has put out for the birds. We pick up some of it and feed it to the ducks and coots. When you are at Sunset Bay watch out for the geese. They can get a little rambunctious on occasion and might scare small children.

If your are looking for some great spots to have a picnic, family gathering, or other event there are several great locations to choose from at White Rock Lake. Flag Pole Hill and Tee Pee Hill are both great spots for picnics and events. Flag Pole Hill is located a good distance away from the lake. In fact you can’t even see the lake from there so if you want a spot right by the lake don’t go there. It’s still a good spot, though. There’s lot’s of room for kids to run around and to fly kites. Our church group had an Easter egg hunt there one year and all the kids had a blast. I do prefer Tee Pee Hill to Flag Pole Hill though. Tee Pee Hill is located right beside the lake and right next to the boat house. It has plenty of picnic tables and grills for cooking out. There is also a small playground for the kids to play in. It’s a very pretty area and a great place to relax. After your picnic you can work off your meal by taking a little stroll along the path beside the lake. We used to do a Walk-A-Thon with our youth group to help raise money to send them to camp in the summer. We would walk the ten mile route around the lake and then have a cookout afterwards. Tee Pee Hill was always our start and finish point.

For some people gazing out over the water and watching the sunrise and sunset isn’t enough. They have to actually get out there on the water. If you are one of those people there are several great opportunities for you. If you have a boat you can launch it off the West Side Boat Ramp, the NE Side Boat Ramp or the Pumphouse Boat tramp. There is also the Boat House next to Tee Pee Hill where I think you can arrange to have your boat stored on a long term basis. I think there is even a sailing club called the Corinthian Sailing Club on the Buckner side of White Rock Lake. If you don’t have a boat you can also go canoeing and kayaking. If you don’t have your own kayak you can rent on from Kayak Power on Saturday mornings. Kayak Power’s phone number is (214) 669-1663.

Other points of interest at White Rock Lake include the Bath House Cultural Center and White Rock Lake Museum. Every time I see a sign for the Bath House Cultural Center I think about the Roman Bath Houses and imagine something kinky must be going on in there. If you’re a dog owner you will be interested in the Dog Park. Call (214) 671-8001. There used to be a building known as the Dreyfus Club. The building is gone now but now there is a nice overlook of the lake there which would also provide another great picnic spot. Probably the best place to find out more about the lake and get information is by visiting the For the Love of the Lake Office which is located at 1152 N. Buckner Blvd. #123, Dallas, TX. 75218. Their phone number is (972) 622-7283. For the Love of the Lake is a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving and enhancing White Rock Lake. You can also go visit their website at www.whiterocklake.org and check to get lots of information and find out about upcoming events.

One thing I’ve noticed at White Rock Lake (especially when I am out bird watching at Sunset Bay) is the amount of trash and junk that washes up on the shoreline. It’s kind of sad to see how careless we are about littering and polluting. People that really care about the lake, like the folks at For the Love of the Lake, are trying to do something about that and keep White Rock Lake Beautiful. That is why every Saturday there is a Saturday Shoreline Spruce Up. Volunteers come out from 8:00am till 12:00pm and help pick up the trash. The second Saturday of every month is the biggest clean up day of the month. If you are interested stop by the For the Love of the Lake Office and they will give supplies and instructions for trash pick up. Cleaning up nature is just a good idea in general but I think it is also an excellent way to teach our children the value of caring for their environment. All the trash on the shoreline shows them what happens when we are not careful and just throw things on the ground. Beautiful things like lakes start to look ugly and get polluted. They can learn not to litter themselves and also that thy can do something about litter. They can pick it up and make a place beautiful again for themselves and others.

White Rock Lake is really a gift to the city of Dallas. It’s a great place to exercise, picnic, go boating, spend time with your family, or just collect your thoughts during a leisurely stroll. Just remember to do your part and help take care of it.

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