The Friends of Oak Cliff Park recently completed work restoring a natural path amid old-growth forest at Kiest Park.
The Kiest Park Conservation Area Trail was funded through a $10,000 grant from Grow South and about 1,000 hours of work from 240 volunteers over the past two years.
The trail, just south of the main park, adjacent to the tennis complex, originally was mapped out in 1934, when the Works Progress Administration cleared the path and built two comfort stations, several picnic areas, a small playground, two bridges over the 25-foot gorge dug out by runoff leading to Five Mile Creek, a barn and a log cabin.
By the 1960s, the entire 60-acre southern section of Kiest Park had been abandoned and overgrown with privet hedge. But the city built the tennis complex in the 1970s, and the wildflower area was created more recently.
The Friends of Oak Cliff Parks received a Loving My Community Grant in 2009 that allowed them to clear the entrances to the trail and build two kiosks.
The friends group started working on reopening the full trail about two years ago. A grand-opening ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, followed by refreshments and guided walking tours of the trail.
Volunteers who worked on the trail include the University of North Texas at Dallas, the North Dallas Adventist Academy, Sunset High School Key Club, Lassiter High School honor society, Dallas County Master Gardeners, Dallas County Master Naturalists, Active Network, Century Air Conditioning, neighborhood associations and the Friends of Oak Cliff Parks.