Dallas City Council vetoes Big Cedar Wilderness acquisition in Southwest Dallas

Dallas City Council votes to acquire Big Cedar Wilderness

The Dallas City Council voted to expand its portfolio of parks by acquiring a nearly 300-acre property in Southwestern Dallas known as Big Cedar Wilderness.

Wednesday’s official action will preserve this beloved property in perpetuity and ensure that future generations of Dallas residents can enjoy the benefits this beautiful city has to offer.

The property is home to a variety of hills, cliffs and pristine habitat, including over 50,000 thousand trees, as well as various meandering creeks and tributaries.

What the Big Cedar Wilderness offers

For decades, mountain bikers, hikers, bird-watchers, and faith groups have used the privately-owned property for recreation and respite.

Now, thanks to the generosity of Brad Phillips and his company, Liberty Bankers Insurance Group, the support of Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the City of Dallas’ Reforestation Fund, the property will be preserved as a natural area and public park.

Dallas City Council votes to acquire Big Cedar Wilderness

“We took another major step toward achieving our goal of becoming the city with the best park system in Texas,” Dallas Mayor Eric L. Johnson said.

“Big Cedar Wilderness is a critical amenity, and our commitment to preserving and enhancing it will ensure more Dallas residents have the opportunity to enjoy this exceptional green haven.”

The 282-acre parcel of land that lies just north of Cedar Ridge Preserve has been privately held by Phillips and Liberty Bankers Insurance Group, and is estimated to be worth more than $17 million.

Recently, Phillips, who had run on the trails at Big Cedar when he was younger, made the decision to preserve the property and all its natural beauty by donating it to Trust for Public Land so it could be forever protected as public parkland.

“I’m proud to be a part of the preservation of Big Cedar Wilderness,” said Phillips. “I look forward to watching it continue to prosper and serve outdoor enthusiasts both locally and beyond.”

Who made this vote possible

For the past 14 months, Trust for Public Land has worked with Phillips, the City of Dallas and community stakeholders among others to secure the property and ensure it remains natural space.

Once the city’s acquisition is complete this summer, TPL will continue to collaborate with the Park and Recreation Department and community stakeholders to enhance the existing amenities and plan for greater ease of access.

“One of the most special aspects of Big Cedar Wilderness are the passionate and dedicated people who have cherished this greenspace for decades,” said Robert Kent, Texas State Director for Trust for Public Land.

“We look forward to working with these stakeholders and community members to help make Big Cedar Wilderness an even better place to engage with nature, improve health, and to connect with each other.”

The City of Dallas has been working to grow its hiking and biking resources and this acquisition will add to the City’s extensive network of trails.

Big Cedar Wilderness is currently enjoyed by local community members, faith groups, and outdoor enthusiasts, including birders, hikers, and mountain bikers.

What this means for the city of Dallas

With up to 200 feet of elevation change, few locations in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area can offer such a large collection of trails with comparable topography for hikers and bikers.

Dallas City Council votes to acquire Big Cedar Wilderness

“We’re blessed in District 3 to have unmatched outdoor amenities that welcome enthusiasts from all over the city and other parts of the state,” said Dallas City Councilmember Casey Thomas.

“It’s exciting to know that more residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful slice of nature we have in Big Cedar.”

Preserving Big Cedar will add nearly 300 acres to the important nature corridor in southwestern Dallas that includes Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Hill State Park, and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.

Adding Big Cedar Wilderness to these nearby properties represents a significant commitment to conservation in Dallas and adds greater continuous native habitat to the area.

“Dallas Park and Recreation is extremely grateful and we are prepared to be thoughtful stewards of Mr. Phillips’ generosity and Trust for Public Land’s leadership,” said Arun Agarwal, President of the Dallas Park Board.

“Our staff is already working to ensure Big Cedar is planned to fit well with our existing network of parks and trails.”

We plan to have a celebration of Big Cedar Wilderness in the coming weeks at the Patriot Pavilion located near 8991 Isom Lane, Dallas, TX 75249. Details will follow.