Members of the Trinity Trails Preservation Association in the city of Lucas had a simple plan in mind. They wanted to expand their hiking and horseback riding trails several miles. A walk into a little-used part of an existing nature trail proved educational beyond their dreams when they found giant sycamore trees.
The largest tree among them may actually be the largest tree in the state of Texas according to the state's forest service. The tree is 101 feet tall with a trunk circumfrence of 25.5 feet and a crown spread of 126 feet.
Plans to expand the trails now include picnic tables, a plaque marking the area and plans to market the trails as a destination spot for people who love the outdoors.
"It was catching the light that day and we thought, 'Wow this is going to be the prettiest section of our trail,'" said Tracy Matern, the past president of the TTPA.
The city of Lucas has already been assured by the forest service their sycamore is the largest tree in the Metroplex. Based on current measurements it's received 439 points from the forestry service -- the largest tree on record in Texas is in Houston County currently measured at 436 points.
Age estimates of the tree range between 200 to 400 years old, aided by near perfect conditions on the banks of a fresh water creek that always flows toward Lake Lavon and rich soil ideal for growing vegetation.
The TTPA already has grant money to help expand the trail, which is on federally protected land. The last phase left before expansion is an archaeological dig to insure the area is free of any historic artifacts linked to Native Americans.
Members of the Trails Association said once the dig is complete the expansion will begin and the trails can be open to the public within a year.