Harpers Branch Creek Greenbelt - First Cleanup!

Saturday, November 6th, 2021 from 8:30am to 12:00pm (CT)


Join us and discover a hidden, unmarked, and almost secret greenbelt most people have neither seen nor heard of: Harpers Branch Creek Greenbelt in Travis Heights.  Nestled in a dry branch of Harpers Branch Creek and descending well below street level, hiking down this dry creek channel allows you to quickly disappear into a pocket wilderness in the middle of a city neighborhood.  This is the first ever volunteer event for Harpers Branch, and we look forward to many more as the South River City Citizens civic organization develops a stewardship plan to protect and revitalize this natural area.

Trash bags, gloves, and water are provided but PLEASE BRING YOUR MASK AND WATER BOTTLE and wear work-appropriate clothing. We'll meet at cement tables and benches and get started right at 9am.  See agenda below.

Thank you so much for joining us on It's My Park Day! You will receive an AWESOME It's My Park Day t-shirt designed by local artists Kendrick Rudolph and Genevieve Bentz for your efforts!  (You'll give your size during registration here on this site.)

In light of the current COVID pandemic we have worked with our partners at Austin Parks and Rec to implement the following procedures:

  • Project registration will be very limited so please only register if you are certain you can participate, and if something changes between registration and the event, please let us know so we can open that spot back up. (Sorry, no walk-ups - must register here)
  • All volunteers are REQUIRED to wear masks and register in GivePulse
  • Social Distancing practices will be maintained throughout the project 

The following people should all remain home and cancel registration if applicable:

  • Immunocompromised or at-risk individuals
  • Anyone who has been exposed to someone that tested positive
  • Anyone who is following direct recommendations from their healthcare provider to self-quarantine

Today, we’ll start at the downstream end and hike up the broad winding creek as it narrows and meanders up to the top end. We will learn how to safely traverse the obstacles on the way up the creek bed, then we’ll pick up and bag trash on the way down and return to our starting point.  There are opportunities to learn how erosion shapes the creek and how this can potentially be controlled in the future through fortification and creation of minor natural log dams.  If you have an interest in biodiversity or native and invasive plants, you will notice examples of all this in the creek, and may be interested in this iNaturalist project dedicated to the area: Harpers Branch Creek Greenbelt Native Plant Biodiversity


  •   8:30 - 9:00 - Register, Eat Tacos, Get your IMPD tee-shirt!
  •   9:00 - 9:30 - Volunteer Orientation (while continuing to eat tacos)
  •   9:30-11:30 - Hike and enjoy the greenbelt + Pickup trash
  • 11:30-11:45 - Dumpster the trash / breakdown
  • 11:45-12:00 - Debrief
  • 12:00            - Go Home, or go out for brunch, lunch etc.

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Requirement Details
Wondering if you should register to volunteer? Based on the CDC guidelines, we are asking you the following questions:
  1. Have you been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19? See the CDC’s risk assessment guidance.

  2. Do you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19? Symptoms can include a cough or shortness of breath or at least two of the following: Fever, Chills, Repeated shaking with chills, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore throat, New loss of taste or smell. See the CDC’s symptom information.

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, we ask you not to register. We are doing all we can to align with best practices and keep our community healthy.
1. Breakfast tacos!
2. It's My Park Day tee shirts!
3. Knowing that you are doing the first ever volunteer event at Harpers Branch Creek Greenbelt!
Parking Details
Parking is free and the place is empty on the weekend. There are two parking garages and 3 parking lots. Here is the easiest way to describe finding us:

1. From Riverside and I-35 South, go south on the Frontage road (away from Downtown). It's less than 500 feet from there, so you have to pay attention to the driveways.
2. You'll see a little building on the left that says "1100" in very large numbers and has a model of a big wheelchair.
3. The very next driveway right next to that is the one you want, take it, and stay right.
4. Drive straight ahead and you'll run into an area that has 3 cement tables and benches where happy volunteers will be waiting for you with breakfast tacos!
5. Park there and join us.

If you miss the driveway, just turn right on the very next street (Reagan Terrace) and the first right is a driveway that leads into the property... then just drive all the way back through the parking garage and past the buildings and find us that way.
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Justin Haynes wrote on November 2nd, 2021

Hi All! I'm really looking forward to seeing you all, meeting some new people and enjoying some time outdoors in nature. On Saturday, it's going to be a nice clear skied sunny cold day. It will be 45 degrees when we start and 60 degrees when we finish. It will not rain, but the creek will be wet from rain 2 days before. So here are some tips!:

1. Wear boots! - I have some hiking boots I'm comfortable with and use outdoors all the time, but beware that it will be muddy. You may want to get some $20-30 rainboots such as those you can buy here at Academy on Brodie Men's women's and children's sizes all seem to be in stock: https://www.academy.com/shop/browse/search?searchTerm=rainboots&facet=%27facet_InvInStock%27:%27Y%27&page_2 From there you can pivot to a different store. Target doesn't tend to have these, but Walmart does.

2. Dress warmly - I will likely wear a couple of technical layers and no jacket because we will be moving around and climbing. But if you are cold natured, do dress warmly enough that you do not get too cold!

This is a simple cleanup which will help us all to get familiar with the state of the creek, enjoy it and have some good conversation about next steps for this little treasure.