The park areas, open space and roads around Nasworthy provide an almost-perfect venue for outdoor fitness activities (we'll get to the "almost" part later).
Lakeside areas such as the swim beach (Mary E Lee Park), the KOA loop, Spring Creek Park and Middle Concho Park are all used extensively by cyclists, hikers, runners and walkers. The lake parks also serve as starting points for cyclists and runners heading out onto area roads and into the Twin Buttes open space.
The problem is — to move past the "almost-perfect' status mentioned earlier — these lake areas need a few potable water stations, one or two additional restroom facilities and a couple of small bridges.
Water is a problem because there are no locations to drink or refill a water bottle in the areas described above. Given the typical hot and dry conditions during the "active" season here in San Angelo, having access to drinking water during exercise is important for health reasons. The city might want to take a cue from the State Park, which has a few water stations strategically located on key trail areas.
Restrooms are another problematic issue in some of the areas. Although Spring Creek and Middle Concho parks have usable facilities, a visit to the antiquated and overused powder room at the swim beach will leave you saying, "I hope I can wait." The KOA loop, which is heavily used by runners and walkers, has an even larger restroom problem with no facilities at all except for the sparse brush on the hillside.
The last items needed to improve the non-motorized recreation infrastructure around Lake Nasworthy are two small bike/pedestrian bridges. Currently, there are no safe bike/pedestrian routes that connect the swim beach to Middle Concho Park and Middle Concho to Spring Creek Park.
To do a complete loop of the west side of Lake Nasworthy, a cyclist, runner or walker starting at the swim beach must travel on Knickerbocker Road to Red Bluff Road, follow Red Bluff to Middle Concho Park, go past the Twin Buttes Spillway on a dirt road, do an illegal crossing over the Twin Buttes dam, bushwhack past the south edge of the spillway to Spillway Road, go through Spring Creek Park to Fisherman's Road and then back to the swim beach.
That current loop is a fun and challenging mountain bike ride or run, but its not a route that's appropriate or safe for most people. Two small bridges similar to those over the downtown North Concho River would solve the problem and create a scenic loop that connects multiple lake parks and circles around all of the west side of the lake.
Most of these needs described above and the related benefits to both San Angelo residents and out-of-town visitors are noted in the Lake Nasworthy Master Plan, the 2012 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan and the city of San Angelo's Bike and Pedestrian Plan.
Remember — the plans are in place, so now it's time to start implementation.
Sept 20: Color Up 5K, colorup5k.com/san-angelo
Sept 27: High Sky Foster Run, roadlizards.org/events/high-sky-foster-run/
Sept 27: Mason Lions Club 5/10K Run, tinyurl.com/nzl5q2r
Oct 4: Shannon Pink Ribbon Run, tinyurl.com/pygg67j
Oct 11: Goodyear Race for Celebration, roadlizards.org
Oct 11: Christoval Vineyards Half Marathon, runintexas.com/christoval
Oct 18: Heart Walk 5K, roadlizards.org
Oct 19: West Texas Half Marathon and 5K, westtexashalf.com/
Oct 25: Armydillo 10K, roadlizards.org/events/armydillow-10k-run/
Nov 1: 30K of the Dinosaur trail race, roadlizards.org
Nov 1: Six Hours of the Dinosaur mountain bike race, angelobike.org/6hour-dinosaur