By Elsa Maxey
YMCA’s Camp Cloud just the other day, actually this past summer, started out as a joint program between the Fort Bend and TW Davis YMCAs. It was for providing area youth an opportunity to learn about nature by participating in outdoor activities and it began at Bates Allen Park in Kendleton. With the successful completion of a 10-week program for about 500 kids last summer, that seems to have triggered pressing on to the next level.
There is now a grant application pending with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin for a one mile, eight foot width recreational trail. Last week Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court authorized sending the request for funding assistance amounting to what will turn out to be a $250,000 project. The funds are intended to help further develop the outdoor education and recreation camp at Bates Allen Park. Twenty percent of the money for the project is proposed to come from the county’s road and bridge department as in-kind services.
Recently, commissioner’s court approved two public-private partnering agreements with the YMCA for the development and programming of the outdoor camp. The terms of the agreement call for the continuing development of the recreational and educational facilities funded by YMCA with ownership and maintenance of the park property assigned to the county.
The park is a beautiful 235 acre area on the San Bernard River where YMCA participants this past summer enjoyed archery, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and environmental education. In the funds request to the parks and wildlife state agency, the county proposes the construction of an elevated trail system for the park with four linear trails, river access and observation decks to be open to the public. As proposed, the trail amenities will also include benches and directional, educational and historical signage, and it will be handicap accessible.