Nature park coming to Kirby Lake

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - In an increasingly connected world, many are becoming disconnected from nature.  The City of Abilene has a new way to bring all those people back outside.

Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas donated $200,000 to build a brand new nature park near the shores of Kirby Lake. To start, the City plans on using this money to cater to children who are seven years old and younger, giving them fun and education.

Kirby Lake is already a popular place for fishing and bird watching. Some of the people who already enjoy spending time at the lake said that they're excited to see the changes.

Chris Claypool is one of the people fishing Kirby. He's recently moved from California, and has fallen in love with the beauty of West Texas. He's a fan of the idea:"I grew up with Boy Scouts and stuff and we need to get kids away from the TV, away from the video games, social media, and see what's out here. Coming from California, you're coming to Heaven, compared to Southern California. And these kids need to get out here and see this."

Another fisherman on Kirby Lake, Virgil Ashlock, is excited for a new generation to start taking in the nature surrounding the lake. He remembers his start, when his father and uncles taught him to fish. He says that education needs to start somewhere. "If you don't teach it to them, they're not going to know it. Nobody else is going to teach it to them."

Both men have plenty of ideas for what they would like to see in a nature park. While the first phase of the project is planned out, Abilene Director of Community Services Lesli Andrews says that she hopes to hear "continuous feedback and input from the people."

Andrews also mentions that cards have been given to some of those who are fishing on Kirby Lake to get their opinions for the future.

The first phase will concentrate of a walking path, but future plans call for an elevated walkway to see treetop ecosystems, natural playground elements, and bird watching outposts.

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