As part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s (PARD) capacity management program  designed to alleviate environmental and community impacts within the Austin Park system, the entrances to the Barton Creek Greenbelt require a reservation  Friday-Sunday through October. Reservations are free and can be made online. Park Monitors are onsite during the reservation windows welcoming visitors and checking  reservations. In addition, as of October 1,  there will be an additional 20 people per hour able to enter without reservations on a first come first serve basis.

Image of Barton Creek

Questions the Reservation Pilot Program Seeks to Answer

  • Can managing access provide enjoyable access for park users from visitors to Austin to neighbors?
  • Can a reservation system be implemented equitably?
  • Does managed access lead to reduced environmental impacts?
  • Can implementing a season park ranger team at all official entrances successfully manage access?

Why: As one of the formally recognized 2020 Leave No Trace Hot Spots, environmental impacts at Barton Creek Greenbelt have reached a critical level and continue to worsen. With increased traffic to the Greenbelt litter (including pet waste), erosion, trail damage, water quality issues, and injuries continue to rise. Neighborhoods surrounding the residential entrances are particularly impacted by heavy traffic, public intoxication, and trash. In addition, popular areas within the Barton Creek Greenbelt saw crowding and limited social distancing during the pandemic. A reservation system like that at Emma Long, Commons Ford and Walter E. Long help to provide assurance that the area will not be crowded and allows for visitors to enjoy the space safely. This project will help gather insight for future recommendations Barton Creek Greenbelt management strategies. 
When: Reservations are currently required for visitors Friday-Sunday 11am-6pm through October. The pilot started when the Barton Creek Greenbelt reopened on August 8th.

How: Reservations are free and can be made online. Reservations open up online two weeks before the reservation date.

Where: The seven official entrances to the Barton Creek Greenbelt (map)

What: In addition to reservation numbers and data collected at the entrances additional data is being collected on trash and environmental impacts throughout the pilot project.