The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (FWNC&R) is a natural area comprised of forests, prairies, and wetlands allowing you to step back in time and experience what the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex was like in the early 20th century. The inception of the FWNC&R was based on protecting our local watershed. In 1914 when Lake Worth was built land was purchased around the West Fork of the Trinity River by the City of Fort Worth to protect the quality of drinking water for the Fort Worth community. With great persistence from some local citizens, particularly the Fort Worth Audubon Society, the Park Board designated some land in 1964 to create a wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve for our community and the FWNC&R was born.
At its current state, the FWNC&R covers 3,621 acres and includes over 20 miles of hiking trails, making the park one of the largest city-owned nature centers in the United States. In 1980 it was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. With the ever growing population of Fort Worth and the surrounding communities, having a place to explore and enjoy the outdoors is important for our residents. The FWNC&R is home to many native habitats to discover on a self –guided or staff-guided hike. Staff members offer many programs throughout the year providing opportunities for our visitors to learn about our natural world.
In addition to education, the FWNC&R is a shining example of land stewardship and was recognized with a Lone Star Land Steward award in 2009 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Resource management staff work hard to preserve our ecosystems by promoting best practices to enhance the fauna and flora. Managing our bison herd and implementing prescribed burns are two of many ways we ensure our wildlife have a sustainable home.
The FWNC&R is a division of the City of Fort Worth Park and Recreation Department. Additional funds to support the FWNC&R come from The Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (FONC). The FONC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides financial support for projects, professional development for staff and other operational needs.