Revitalizing Houston’s most significant natural resource

Buffalo Bayou Partnership develops and maintains one of America’s great urban green spaces

Houston may be known as Space City, but these folks are encouraging Houstonians to appreciate what’s closer to home.

The Buffalo Bayou Partnership, founded in 1986, is focused on revitalizing and transforming a 10-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource.

“We're offering an enhanced recreational amenity for all Houstonians, not only for the physical benefits but also for mental well-being,” explains Leigh McBurnett, BBP’s director of development.

“There are so many studies that show that being outdoors and in nature can really enhance our quality of life, so that’s what we're here to do,” she adds.

In 2015, the partnership put the finishing touches on Buffalo Bayou Park, a 160-acre urban green space that includes gardens and native landscaping, hike and bike trails, paddle craft and bike rentals, and two visitor centers.

One of the organization’s biggest events is the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta, a 15-mile canoe and kayak race down the bayou. The 48th annual race took place in early March.

“We have about 500 boats that participate and it’s so rewarding to see so many people out on the bayou, using it and enjoying it. It’s always a lot of fun and it's something really unique to our organization,” says McBurnett.

“We also operate the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, which is an underground former water reservoir. We renovated it and now offer tours and host periodic art installations in the space, which has been very popular,” she adds.

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As part of our commitment to sustainability and improving the quality of life in the communities where we operate, Enbridge is the presenting sponsor of Buffalo Bayou Partnership's 2020 volunteer program, through a $25,000 contribution.

“We have about 1,500 to 2,500 volunteers come out each year to help us with various projects,” says McBurnett. “The money will support those projects and our parks staff, particularly the volunteer coordinator that schedules the volunteer groups and works with them when they’re on site.

Partnership volunteers assist with planting trees and native vegetation, weeding, mulching, cleaning up and other tasks to keep the parks healthy and beautiful. Since the program was created a decade ago, the partnership has seen over 35,000 people volunteer.

“More and more people seem to want to get out and do things versus just write a check to a non-profit—which certainly helps—but I think people really want to get out and see the difference they’re making,” McBurnett says.

(TOP PHOTO: The Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta, an annual 15-mile canoe and kayak race down the bayou.)