Eric Nicholson has an important piece over on the Dallas Observer today about Bryan Kilburn, the man who used to be in charge of managing the Great Trinity Forest for the City of Dallas. Long story short, Kilburn became a senior program manager with the city of Dallas after earning a degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin University. He was instrumental in putting together the city’s forest management plan, which laid out a 100-year program for preserving and enhancing the ecological asset that is the Great Trinity Forest. He thought he was doing good work.
However, in light of the many recent instances of contractors draining ponds, cutting down trees, and otherwise unleashing havoc on the forest, Kilburn now says he believes that he was a cog in a “giant con” that is the Trinity River Project. Here’s what he posted on Philip Kingston’s Facebook page:
When I started working on the GTF for my master’s at the ripe age of 22, I was afraid the entire purpose of the Trinity Project was the construction of a toll road and the destruction of the forest. I was convinced, after being given the opportunity to put all of the science together for this management plan, that the negative aspects of the Trinity Project would be outweighed by the crown jewel of the GTF. I set out and convinced a good number of the environmentalists in Dallas that the future GTF would be a place for all of Dallas to enjoy and would be protected from development and degradation. Mayor Miller even gave me a dozen yellow roses for helping convince Don Henley to stop funding a lawsuit that would have forced the USACE [Corps of Engineers] to reopen the EIS [environmental impact study] for the Trinity…[and] probably would have put a stop to all of this nonsense a decade ago. Don’t let anyone say there’s no plan for the forest because they “don’t know enough about it” or whatever spin they’re using. The truth is, the Trinity project was always more about the toll road and the money it would bring to a select few Dallasites through development. At this point you’re entirely dependent on that road being built (or not) to even start construction on the levees that would give South Dallas equal flood protection all the while developers are remaking South Dallas in their image until there’s nothing but high end apartments named Bonton and anyone who lived there before has been displaced, forced further out on the fringe of “affordable” and separated from their community. I feel like I was part of a giant con and I’m truly sorry for the part I played.
Read Nicholson’s piece if you feel like ruining your day with more depressing details of how dysfunctional the Trinity River Project has become.