On July 26, 2019 a meeting was held between the Benbrook Lake Park Corps of Engineers Rangers and Fort Worth Bicycling Association (FWBA) to discuss roadway usage inside the park, the bypass road around Nice Hill, the pedal-thru gate between the day use area and the campground, and use of restrooms. Craig Roshaven, Steve Bales, Sherwin Rubin, and David Wagner represented our FWBA with goodwill and professionalism to express the concerns of our members and cyclists in general. I’ve listed a few key takeaways, the recommendation from our representatives, and the letter from Terry Schmidt who is the supervising ranger.
Park Ranger citation authority - Corps Rangers have complete personal discretion whether to issue or not issue a citation. Rangers are encouraged to be thoughtful of elderly riders and those who hold senior passes.
Roadway usage inside the park – Cyclists should stay on the main roads and should not use secondary roads that access campsites.
The bypass road around Nice Hill– No waiver or exemption will be issued. Rangers should use their discretion if they observe older riders bypassing Nice Hill.
Restrooms – Cyclists may use any restroom facilities in either the day use area, the campground, or main road.
Pedal-thru gate between the day use area and the campground– Rangers will evaluate how this can be improved upon.
Recommendation from our representatives:
If Nice Hill is too physically challenging to ride over, a rider or riders with a Lifetime Senior Pass may ride around it provided they do so at a reasonable pace for the safety of any campers that may be on the bypass road. Though this is not in keeping with the Rules we have reason to believe Park Rangers will use their discretionary authority to not issue a citation if these conditions are met.
Below is the response from Terry Schmidt, the supervising Ranger. Please read it and honor the park rules/guidelines.
Let’s enjoy our ride, be happy, and make great memories!
Lorraine L Leonard, FWBA President
From: "Schmidt, Terry L CIV USARMY CESWF (USA)" <Terry.L.Schmidt@usace.army.mil>
Date: August 7, 2019 at 3:08:01 PM CDT
To: Craig Roshaven <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Brewer, Christopher R CIV USARMY CESWF (USA)" <Christopher.R.Brewer@usace.army.mil>, "Black, Lyndy T CIV USARMY CESWF (US)" <Lyndy.T.Black@usace.army.mil>, "Jasper, Andrew S SWF" <Andrew.S.Jasper@usace.army.mil>, "Murphy, James A CIV USARMY CESWF (US)" <James.A.Murphy@usace.army.mil>
Subject: Cycling Rules and Regulations
Mr. Roshaven –
Thank you for meeting with my staff on the 26th of July. It was very productive and beneficial for all sides to hear everyone's point-of-view. As was discussed, one of our most difficult management issues is our many different 'recreational publics', each with have different interests and priorities. Our ongoing task is to provide safe recreational opportunities for all of them at once, and at the same time prevent potential conflicts that might arise between them.
Below are several rules and precautions that you are encouraged to share with all members of the FW Bicycling Association and any other interested cyclists, regarding bicycle use at Benbrook Lake.
This discussion applies only to questions concerning the Dayuse area and the Campground in Holiday Park on the west side of Benbrook Lake. As the vast majority of bicycle traffic is in Holiday Park, our meeting did not discuss any issues in the two City lease areas of Dutch Branch or Pecan Valley Parks, or in Bear Creek, Mustang or Rocky Creek Parks on the south and east sides of the lake.
I have included a map showing the 'main park road' that is Lakeview / Pearl Ranch Road through the both the Dayuse area and Campground. The Dayuse area and the Campground are shown on the map in different colors. The boundary between the two is the gate that your riders are aware of, where they pedal thru at the adjacent bicycle gate. In the dayuse area they are free to use any roadway. In the campground they must use only the main roadway and not the secondary roads or loops.
While on US Army Corps of Engineers [USACE / COE] property at Benbrook Lake, cyclists may at any time -
- travel through the park on the main roadway (Lakeview Road / Pearl Ranch Road).
- use any restroom facilities in either the dayuse area or the campground. All restrooms are located along the main road (Lakeview Road / Pearl Ranch Road).
- use any of the day-use facilities in the Holiday Park Dayuse area, as do any of the other paid users of that park area. However while in the Holiday Park Campground, cyclists must remain on the main park road (Lakeview Road and Pearl Ranch Road). Cycles are not allowed on the secondary roads that access campsites, nor may they occupy camping sites.
While at Benbrook Lake, cyclists must always -
- obey all traffic rules, restrictions and USACE regulations. This includes obeying all posted signage especially including stop signs, and adhering to any other regulations for vehicles.
- honor all indications of closed areas, not cross any barricades, pass any road cones, nor climb over any closed gates.
- ride no more than two abreast, and make every effort to stay to the right of the road so other traffic may pass safely.
These are public safety issues. We have high pedestrian traffic areas near park entrances and elsewhere. When a normally open area or road is closed for any reason, workers and machinery or equipment operators will be focusing on their primary jobs and may be reasonably expectant that no other people will be in the closed areas.
All the above guidelines are for the safety of the cyclists as well as the campground patrons.
Any violation of these COE regulations may result in a citation and/or removal from the park or campground (this of course applies to all park users, not just cyclists). Park Ranger citation authority is a management tool used to ensure public safety. Corps Rangers are not mandated to enforce laws or regulations by issuing a citation in every circumstance of an observed violation, but they do have complete discretion at all times whether to issue, or not issue, a citation.
During our meeting, we had discussion of a waiver of the restriction of riding only the main roadway thru the campground, so that elderly or physically-limited riders could bypass the steep approach and descents at ‘Nice Hill’. Having investigated our policies, I do not see any way to officially allow individual exceptions to our posted rules and regulations, so there is no practical way to provide an official waiver. That being said, I have discussed the COE citation authority above. As noted, citations are not issued in all instances but are at the officer’s personal discretion, and of course then only in situations when an actual violation is directly observed. I have encouraged my staff to be thoughtful in their discretion particularly in any instance involving elderly riders, or those with either the ‘American the Beautiful Senior’ or ‘Access’ park passes. That is all I can offer in this regard.
I believe with common understanding of the needs and wishes of both the Corps of Engineers Rangers and the FW Bicycling Association, these guidelines will assist in fewer misunderstandings and disagreements in the park. Thank you and your entire association for your assistance and cooperation. We will also see what we can do to improve the pedal-thru gate between the Dayuse area and the Campground.
Feel free to contact me anytime on these or other issues.
Thank you again.
Lake Manager, Benbrook Lake / Trinity Regional ProjO