In April, fans of White Rock Lake came together and helped defeat a proposal for a restaurant at Boy Scout Hill, at the northeast corner of White Rock Lake. Inspired by the community reaction, activist Julie Long Sherrod took the next step and formed a group she hopes will carry the baton.
Called Protect and Preserve White Rock Lake Park (PPWRLP), the entity is designed to permanently protect White Rock Lake from additional commercial development. It has no affiliations with governmental groups or other organizations, and it isn't restricted to people who live near the lake. They’re walkers, bikers, master gardeners and families who want to preserve the park for future generations.
Their goals are to preserve native grassland, protect wildlife and keep the area free to the public. They're also looking at the use of herbicides at the park, mowing practices and other environmental issues.
White Rock Lake is overseen by a nonprofit called the White Rock Conservancy, whose board and advisory group work with the City of Dallas and the Parks Department. The main function of that group is to raise funds to help maintain and improve the lake, the trails and 1,000-plus acres that surround it.
PPWRLP group sees itself as more of an advocacy group and more grass-roots, says member Ted Barker, who lives near the lake and took an active role in the protests against the restaurant at Boy Scout Hill.
"We’re sharing ideas within this group, and one idea is to gather information for a best practices guideline/manual for the Parks Department," Barker says.