Streams & Valleys: A Half Century of Success

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

Streams & Valleys is a wonderful example of this simple but powerful idea. When people join together for a worthy cause, anything is possible.

Fort Worth owes its very existence to the river: Major Ripley Arnold chose to establish the fort here in 1849 because of the many benefits associated with the Trinity. Yet, once upon a time, Fort Worth turned its back on the river.

After the 1949 flood, our once-meandering river was channelized. The levees that were built to protect us also served as a barrier, and our city turned its back on the river. This set the stage for another individual: a visionary named Phyllis Tilley.

In the late 1960s, Phyllis drove across the Seventh Street Bridge, looked at what had become “The Ditch” and said, “We’ve got to clean this up.” She assembled a determined and courageous group of community leaders who saw the river’s potential. Together, they began the hard work of cleaning up the river and restoring access to it.


In 1969, the Fort Worth City Council designated Phyllis’ group the Streams & Valleys Committee, and in 1971 , the Committee became a non-profit organization. Two years later, Phyllis and the Junior League brought people back to the river for a great celebration. They called it Mayfest.

May 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Streams & Valleys committee. For five decades, Streams & Valleys has remained a passionate voice for the Trinity River. We’ve helped to educate our community, raised money for vital projects, and beautified the river and trails. Perhaps most importantly, we’ve brought people together to get important things done.

In the 1960s, our “trails” were simply maintenance roads. Today, after years of strong leadership and successful planning efforts, the Trinity River system has been transformed into a hub of community activity, a magnificent natural and recreational amenity that features more than 72 miles of trails.

Thanks to that stalwart group of River Partners, thousands of people find their way to the river to run, cycle, paddle-board, picnic and kayak. They find daffodils, park benches, restaurants, and retail along the paths — places for laughter and places for quiet reflection.

The Trinity Trails network is more vibrant than ever and will eventually link more neighborhoods and communities together, from Benbrook and Westworth Village to Arlington, Dallas and beyond.

Our riverfront has also become a crown jewel for developers who are creating mixed-use environments that will bring millions of dollars in economic development to the city.

With decades of progress behind us, an even bigger opportunity lies ahead with the recent completion of CONFLUENCE: The Trinity River Strategic Master Plan.

This ambitious plan is all about sustaining a thriving river that connects people and places, spurs economic development and offers abundant recreational opportunities for the region.

CONFLUENCE details key goals to propel the river system forward, like ensuring equitable and inclusive river access, establishing a far-reaching mobility network, creating a learning environment for all ages, fostering a sense of place, and maintaining access to clean and safe water.

The plan features major projects located big dreams for our beloved river – and together, we can channel them into a beautiful reality. Through it all streams & Valleys will remain the keeper of the vision and the voice of the Trinity River.

To Download CONFLUENCE, please CLICK HERE.