Houston’s nickname is the Bayou City and with the completion of a parks and trails project that unites all of its major bayous with green space, the nickname will fit even better. That’s right Houston–the town usually known for its freeways and traffic has approved a major bond initiative aimed at completing a 100 year old idea to unite its bayous with parks and trails. Bayou Greenways 2020 is the biggest parks project in the state, and one of the largest in the nation. This unique project, made possible by Houston’s natural landscape of bayous, will elevate the city’s standing as one of the top “quality of place” cities in the nation. It also demonstrates our commitment to our invaluable ecological capital in the midst of a very large metroplex. Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public/private partnership where the city and area non-profits like the Houston Parks Board, will complete the project in 7 years. Currently, Houston has 75 miles of trails along the major bayous throughout the city and the bayous touch 77 city parks. But Bayou Greenways 2020 will expand the trails to 150 miles in the city, connecting more parks and people with linear greenways along the banks of Houston’s bayous. Bayou Greenways 2020 will vastly increase the areas available to Houstonians for recreation but also create an alternative for transportation uniting many of Houston’s major employment centers for bikes and pedestrians. Indeed, nearly 60% of all Houstonians will live within 1.5 miles of one of these greenways. Developing connected green corridors with hike and bike trails along the bayous also brings a smart and sustainable resolution to a growing city in need of additional park space and leverages land already in the floodway or floodplain.This spring, Houston Parks Board is bringing together community members, students, businesses, organizations, and neighborhood groups to get involved and speak up about what this project means to them. We’ve already organized multiple bayou bike tours, collected over 2000 signatures in support, and we’re just getting started. If you’re in the area and want to get involved, or would like more information about the project, check out our website for more information. We can get these trails built here in Houston, but we need your help. Sign up today to receive our e-alerts and get involved in this important project. Also, be sure you get out there and explore. Here are the maps!Jen Powis is the Advocacy Director for the Houston Parks Board, a non-profit dedicated to creating, improving, protecting, and advocating for parks in the Greater Houston area. HPB’s signature project, Bayou Greenways 2020, unites seven of the major ten bayous that flow through the city with urban greenspace and a single strip of all weather trail, creating an urban park system like no other in the nation.