Paul Dyer Should Be Fired

Paul Dyer is the director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. In a statement released by the Arboretum, he said:

“More and more people are using and visiting White Rock Lake and currently, there is inadequate parking. People visiting the lake and attending the many runs and ball games often turn to dangerous and illegal parking. Further, grass that’s left unmowed is a fire hazard and threatens homes in the area.”

People come to the lake because it’s pretty, not because the parking is plentiful. Also, by his logic, we should cut down all the trees. They, too, are a fire hazard.

I am amazed that this man has the job he does.


  • Along with the right to allow parking, I am sure the arboretum has the right to charge people to park. Will the arboretum have control of the parking thats already there? How about 1100 runners who will be at the point tomorrow morning at 7am for a run, or the ball players who use the ball fields. Will they now have to pay to park? This isnt just a land grab, but it another chance for them to dig into my wallet.

  • Mary Suhm should be fired first.

  • Tom

    While we’re at it, let’s build a toll road across the lake. I’m sure there’s a need for traffic relief on Buckner Boulevard. People can’t get to and from the lake fast enough.

  • Brown Bess

    As should Joan Walne, who just gave her permission to drill for gas in Dallas parks.

  • Christine

    Thoughts on this, from the same press release? IJA

    The plaintiffs have made allegations to create the impression that Winfrey Point is an endangered ecosystem and that it contains pristine, native grasses.

    “This claim could not be further from the truth. Almost all of the grasses observed at Winfrey Point are non-native, invasive species. I identified 15 species of non-native grasses, some of which are very aggressive,” said Dr. Robert O’Kennon, Ph.D. “These non-native grasses and plants at Winfrey Point need to be kept under control and appropriately mowed or eradicated to attempt to prevent their spread to and the destruction of the other regions of White Rock Lake Park with native flora. Furthermore, ‘Blackland Prairie’ is a soil type; it does not refer to what grows on it. There are 12 million acres of ‘Blackland Prairie’ in North Texas.”

    “Those unfamiliar with the situation are being misled by those with an agenda, and are not being given all the facts or an explanation of the various concerns,” said Brian Shivers, Chairman of the Board at the Dallas Arboretum. “The top concern is that the limited parking around the lake is a safety issue for Dallas citizens who enjoy White Rock Lake as a place to run, cycle, walk and take in the scenery.”

    The Dallas Park and Recreation Department asked the Dallas Arboretum, experienced in event management and parking coordination, to manage parking and traffic at Winfrey Point for White Rock Lake Park events and the Arboretum. The Arboretum is also exploring partnerships with other conservation organizations to replant sections of the area with true native plants. “We want to be a good neighbor, and if requested to do so by the city, we will take care of parking for Winfrey Point and provide ideas for beautification so it continues to be a great asset for White Rock Lake,” said Mary Brinegar, President and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum.

  • Robbie

    Wholeheartedly agree, Tim. A colleague of mine told me recently he was impressed by Mr. Dyer. After this statement, however, I find that hard to believe.

    I’ve been to White Rock more times than I can count. 90% of the time I have arrived by bicycle. The other times, I’ve had absolutely zero problems finding a parking spot.

    In a city with such a high obesity rate, we should quit making concessions to the car. It’s absolutely unacceptable.

  • TB

    If we start firing people at City Hall for stupidity, we would be left with only three or four people….. hey wait a minute…..

  • Lee

    What is the difference in “unmowed grass” and the many designated No Moving areas for wild flowers? Why is one a fire hazard?

  • LakeWWWooder

    How about buying the big ugly self-storage facilities across from the spillway and turning those into landscaped parking?

  • You’re absolutely wrong on the fire hazard issues. Trees are trees. They thin the grass around them and provide wind breaks. They are part of a fire control system.

    Do you know what wildfire experts call grass? “Fuel.” Trees don’t burn unless there is enough grass around one to get it started. The fire always starts with grass, downed leaves and timber, and shrubs. (And mowing takes care of the timber and leaves.)

    Look at how fast this fire spreads and stop scoffing about little old grassfires.

  • Richard Schumacher

    Surely this fiasco lies at the feet of Arboretum CEO Mary Brinegar. Planning a Six Flags attraction without parking is incompetence. Or perhaps she assumed that the City would bail them out, in which case it’s sheer arrogance. The Arboretum needs to step up and build a proper parking structure on its property across Garland Road, or arrange remote parking withe shuttles.

  • @Christine: I don’t care where the grass comes from. Point is, a parking garage on the shores of White Rock is an idea that only makes sense to companies that build parking garages.

  • CL

    I had trouble finding a parking spot at TP Hill the other day when the weather was perfect. We should look at that site too.

  • Woodall Rogers

    Didn’t we just spend a gazillion dollars to add more greenspace because we have too much concrete? Build some bike racks so the non-handicap can ride or walk from White Rock Station, until such time that there is a stop on the Arboretum side of the lake. Imagine this conversation about Central, Grant, or Golden Gate Parks. Ridiculous.

  • LL

    This is just par for the course for the Park Department. Some years back, 41 of 42 of us who were at a meeting concerning taking land in Samuell Grand Park to put up a driving range — voted no and the last one didn’t really care. Now there was land closer down to the creek that would have worked, but god forbid that a golfer should have to walk that far, so they took the parkland for what is also a paying venture. They simply believe they can do whatever they want to.

  • Anne

    Yes, he should be. And as for Joan Walne, for shame. She lives in Lake Highlands.

  • Christine

    @Tim, with you, and if preserving the prairie is a non-issue, yours is how the argument should be framed. Don’t make this a botany war about which plant or handful of soil should get special treatment. This is a parking lot on the friggin’ lake. Or rather, a friggin’ parking lot on the lake.

  • My2Cents

    Why not just fill in the lake? It makes about as much sense as the parking garage. Oh, and there a ton of trails that go to the lake, just park at one of them and follow the trail. This is stupid, but what should I expect, it is Dallas.

  • Bill Marvel

    This is not about grass, native or not, nor about the Arboretum or the Chihuly exhibit.
    Read more closely all those statements and communications and press releases from city officials, elected and appointed. I think they signal a pretty clear intent by the city to transform White Rock Park from what it is into a recreation-dense, high-use, attraction-filled big city commons. There is a lot of “unused” space at White Rock, thickets and grassy areas and creek banks that could accommodate tens of thousands more daily visitors if only the right improvements were made, the right attractions and accommodations installed.
    If this is not the intent behind this particular fight, then I’m very mistaken. But I’m willing to bet that in some drawer or on some desk at Parks and Rec, there’s a master plan to multiply citizen utilization of White Rock, to minimize park and maximize recreation.
    I’ve seen this played out in other cities and even in National Parks where the argument is always framed in terms of people (and their cars) or trees.

  • BillJones

    I thought I heard squeaky Paul Dyer on the radio the other day make a passing mention of “proposals for multi-use development at Fair Park.” This guy is not to be trusted.

    @ Christine regarding DABS press release. Dr. Bob Kennon does not hold a doctorate in anything. He has a B.A. in business and is a former pilot for American Airlines. He is affiliated with Botanical Research Institute in Ft. Worth. I am shocked at his dismissive attitude toward the land at Winfrey Point. Though DABS site has scrubbed the Dr and PH.d from his name on their site, it was an obvious attempt to mislead.

  • BillJones

    Opps my bad. That wasn’t Paul Dyer who made mention of “proposals for multi-use development at Fair Park.”
    It was Mark Doty, the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Dallas. Is there really an office of Historic Preservation in Dallas? HA…you could have fooled me.

  • Don in Waco

    Save the carboretum!

  • It is for this statement alone that you call for the man’s job? This seems awfully juvenile and certainly petty.

  • marisa

    @ Richard. You are on target…..what ever Mary Brinegar wants, she gets. Let’s not forget how well connected she is.

  • Dubious Brother

    @Woodall Rogers – Comparing White Rock Lake to Central Park in NYC, Grant Park in Chicago and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is truly apples and oranges. Central Park is surrounded with dense population and has retail within walking distance. Grant Park is also close to dense population with retail within walking distance. I have never been to Golden Gate Park but if you google the map of it , the first issue brought up in the comments is “where to park.” None of the three have the extreme heat that we have in the summer and the parks use is dramatically reduced during cold winter months in NY and Chicago.

    White Rock Lake is surrounded by single family homes. On the west side, the homes are very large and the large front yards never have anyone in them. I ran at the lake for over 30 years and parking was always an issue. Also an issue for me was my car being broken into 5 times and having to replace the smashed in door windows.

    The attitude of the White Rock neighborhood seemed to be it was their private lake and they didn’t want the inconvenience of too many people using it. When it came time to dredge the lake as it was filling in “naturally” they wanted everyone else to pay for it.

  • For what little it will likely be worth, I sent off the following email to the Arboretum.

    As Dallas native and long-time resident of the county who now lives in Montana, I enjoy returning to Dallas every year not only to see friends and family, but also to enjoy White Rock Lake and the Dallas Arboretum. So, it was my to my shock that I heard that the Dallas Arboretum wants to use Winfrey Point as overflow parking and possibly building permanent parking structures there. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was propelled into some sort of surrealist fantasy, but it appears to be true. And I was even more outraged to read from your press release the argument that since Winfrey Point is not pristine Blackland Prairie then it is not worth preserving. Regardless to the validity of your claim it is spectacular in the Springtime. Flycatchers dance along the blooming yuccas; kestrels hover overhead looking for field mice; flowers of a multitude of colors pop up for their all to brief time in the sun. Now it will be a parking lot. Amazing. It may not be perfectly coiffed like the Arboretum, but it is still beautiful.

    You have lost my patronage.

  • me

    Paul Dyer is an honest hard-working Dallas-loving man and his position requires he find solutions to many problems and to increase the use of and appreciation of Dallas’ few green spots and natural areas. Nobody wants to pave over parkland, including Paul. He is just a guy like you and me trying to find equitable solutions to provide more availability of the parks to the people they are provided for. It just ain’t right to call for someone to be fired – unless you’ve walked in their shoes and fought their fight. Tim, you’re fired!

  • me

    and what the hell is wrong with that HUGE parking lot at that hispanic disco at Gaston & Garland ??? I mean, sheesh, there’s parking there for a thousand cars !!! Why not use that and a shuttle ???

  • Bill Marvel

    What does The New York Phil know about grass that the Dalls Arboreum doesn’t?
    NYT: “The New York Philharmonic said on Friday that it was moving the dates of its two Central Park concerts this summer closer together so the stage would not have to be set up twice, saving wear and tear on the Great Lawn. The concerts will take place July 13 and 16, instead of July 12 and 17.”

  • CollinBabs

    So how bizarre is it that we pave over nature to create parking for people so they can drive to look at “staged nature?”

    I fear that the “world class city” folks are wanting to turn White Rock Lake into a multi-attraction development zone, thereby ruining it altogether. Bunch of hicks with an inferiority complex doing the typical Dallas thing — caring about looks and $. And class has nothing to do with any of it.

    I was thinking of buying a house in the lake/Arboretum area but no more.

  • TB

    Great sign from the Saturday morning protest: “Parking and Recreation”

  • Tested

    The fact that Dallas and the Arboretum could concoct such an idiotic scheme in near anonymity until they were just about ready to mow things speaks volumes about the problems we face in this community today.

    This is a PR disaster. But it’s a PR disaster largely because no one bothered to ask questions in public about this until just recently. Clearly the plans to pave the park for the Arboretum parking have been in the works for months. Dallas and the Arboretum thought they could just get away with it in private. They thought that for good reason: From what I can tell, no media outlet (including D Magazine) reported on this until just about a week ago. (my apologies if someone did and I missed it)

    A free society demands public accountability. It demands a vigorous free press. (which is why journalism is the only profession mentioned in constitution) We have a largely castrated press that usually only reports on what it sees and rarely digs for a good story. Digging for a good story is what we need more of. All those layoffs at the local papers and TV stations are paying off for the local politicians. They can increasingly get away with things for a long time before anyone discovers it. Bloggers are just no substitute for a good newspaper or TV reporter. And best of all for the politicians, the media owners are happy because profits are up. They don’t really care about the quality of the journalism they put out. They just care about the profit margin. If one day someone wakes up and finds their local park turned into a parking lot and they have no idea why, that’s no concern of the local media establishment that was once supposed to serve in the public interest.

  • Wylie H.

    The problem with Dyer’s statement is that it reeks of the same sort of arrogance which appears to permeate Mary Suhm’s reign.

  • What

    Has anyone noticed the huge cracks in the walls on Woodall Rogers by the new park. Looks like structural issues, caused by …………….

  • Carol

    The statement quoted above by “Dr.” Robert O’Kennon “PhD” (hired by the Parks and Rec or Arboretum) should be discounted as the man is NOT a doctor and does NOT have a Phd. He has a business degree and is a retired pilot. Couldn’t the Arboretum get ANYONE with legitimate credentials to make their claim?

  • Jed

    I know my opinion may not be popular. Not all Dallas residents live in walking distance to WR Lake. The balance of a public park and how to make it available to city residents is a tough one. But that is what our leaders should do. Make the decisions. I ask they look at our neighboring cities and how they handle public parks and parking. Richardson for example has a great plan and design in attempting to cure the balance.

  • Judy

    The Arboretum couldn’t get any of their own horticulture staff to back them because they all despise Mary. She destroyed their research space to build the children’s garden and forced them to seagoville.??? Why would you want the most important people at the garden 30 miles away?

  • Eastside

    I’ve been running at the lake for over 10 yrs, several times a week. In all that time, I have never had a problem finding a place to park. On a very nice Saturday morning, or during a race, it may be more challenging but you can still find parking. Yes, you may have to WALK a litlle farther. Also in all that time, my car has been broken into once. It was parked at the Bath House with about 20 other cars, 7 of which were hit at the same time.

    Check this out. Emails between the City, Arboretum, and the parking lot firms. Mary Brinegar lied in her statement.

  • bill holston

    What about the idea, that we are taking a free recreation area and converting it to a paid parking garage? This is one of the most scenic spots in our entire area! Why would be pave it and put up a parking lot? This is wrong on many levels.

  • aj

    Drive up Garland Rd. to Centerville and there is a large mostly unused parking lot that could be used for overflow parking. It is already paved, only a little bit further than the soon to be unavailable overflow lot now in use and would save Winfrey Point.

  • Kelly Cotten

    Re: Bill Marvel’s post, “This not about grass, native or not…” I’ve been saying much the same thing for several days. I’m delighted to hear you say it, too. Thank god for you and your instincts about Dallas. I believe the scenario you describe is the REAL, the SCARY, and the far more SIGNIFICANT outcome we’re seeing develop here.

  • LCT

    When the Arboretum opened, it was a welcome addition to our city. My family and I spent many happy hours there and proudly shared it with our out-of-town guests.
    Now I’m not so happy with it.
    The plan to mow native blackland prairie is upsetting enough, but their plans to take over the area from the border of the Arboretum past Winfrey Point are appalling.
    White Rock Lake park is an integral part of our lives. Over the years, family and friends had countless activities at Winfrey Point: Church, family and school parties. For natives, the park was a large playground for us from childhood onwards, free to all.
    Watching younger generations of Dallasites enjoying the lake, as we have, is a joy.
    It’s heartbreaking to think that if the Arboretum’s plans are fulfilled, that will no longer be available for all. The ballfields will be paved, trails for bicycling, walking and jogging won’t be viable for those who enjoy that area.
    Not to be discounted is the increased traffic in the neighborhoods and the rise in temperature in the area because of the pavement. Also in the works is to turn Lakeland into a multi-lane road from Ferguson to Garland Rd. in order to facilitate traffic. They’ll be taking homes in Little Forest Hills by imminent domain. They also plan to open the gates around the lake into the local neighborhoods to increase traffic flow. There is also a plan to widen the road around the lake from Garland Rd to Winfrey Point so that the shuttle busses can pass more easily and make that two way traffic again.
    I have it on good authority that the sweet letter issued by the Arboretum yesterday is meant to placate the concerned citizens and that as soon as the furor dies down, they’re going to proceed with all of their plans.
    If they succeed, instead of having a free park to enjoy, about half of it will be under their control & we’ll have to pay to see the trees in their little tree museum.
    The Arboretum is taking a jewel in this city and turning into a lump of coal.