trinity coalition
West Fork of the Trinity River

Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced on Friday, October 22, 2020, the inclusion of the Trinity River Paddling Trail in the National Parks Service (NPS) by naming it a National Recreation Trail.

The Trinity River Paddling Trail is 130-miles long and currently contains 21 official canoe launches. These provide city-maintained parking and a means of launching a canoe, kayak, or raft into the river. A map of the paddling trail is at

The achievement was years in the making by Trinity Coalition, a Dallas-based nature-oriented nonprofit founded in 2015. Their goal is to “Transform the Trinity River Corridor into a nationally-recognized conservation and recreation area.” National Recreation Trail status for the river is a significant step in accomplishing this mission.

Trinity Coalition board chair Steve Smith stated, “This would never have happened without the encouragement and coordination from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.” In 2018, Smith met with Edith Marvin, head of Environment & Development at NCTCOG. They developed an idea to assemble all the canoe launches that multiple cities along the Trinity River had built into a single, integrated paddling trail.

Marvin brought into the team Dale Harris, a leader in the DFW paddling community through his work with Dallas Downriver Club. Harris led the effort to attain NPS status for the Trinity River Paddling Trail and serves as the primary Trinity Coalition contact.

The impact of the National Park Service brand coming to the DFW region is game-changing. The NPS website receives over 100 million visits a year. With easy access to the area provided by DFW International Airport and Love Field, nature tourism in North Texas promises to grow exponentially.

Smith of the Trinity Coalition holds a long-range vision of creating the nation’s most extensive urban nature system—Trinity Nature Park—by connecting riverside parks, preserves, and municipal land in Dallas, with the Trinity River and its NPS-recognized paddling trail at the center. More information at

In anticipation, Trinity Coalition has trademarked the slogan “Where Nature Happens” to partner with the region’s various tourism and relocation services.