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Parks and Recreation Department awarded Great American Trails grant
Local LongHorn Steakhouse employees to volunteer to place trail markers in Round Rock’s premiere trail system

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Darden Foundation have announced that Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department has been selected as a Great American Trails grant recipient.

Round Rock is one of eight communities awarded this grant in 2012. Great American Trails grants will help improve trail infrastructure while promoting the multitude of benefits that trails provide communities. LongHorn Steakhouse, one of Darden’s restaurant brands that operates more than 390 restaurants across the country, will engage their restaurant teams in this effort locally.  

Local parks and trails are important community resources supporting conservation and environmental sustainability efforts while helping connect people to nature.

“We are honored to be selected for this grant and to be able to provide new trail markers and entrance columns across our Greater Lake Creek and Brushy Creek East trails system,” said Rick Atkins, Parks and Recreation Director. “This $15,000 grant has allowed us to enhance our already amazing trail system.”

Through the Great American Trails program, the department has purchased 20 trail markers denoting ¼-mile lengths made of concrete for residents to enjoy. Additionally, the grant has provided stone trail entrance columns with comprehensive trail maps and directional and educational signage at the trail heads. Local volunteers from LongHorn Steakhouse Round Rock will install the new trail markers at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 10, as a gift to the Round Rock Community.

“At LongHorn, we believe in hard work and doing things the right way, part of which means giving back to the local communities we serve,” said Dave George, President of LongHorn Steakhouse. "Guests visit us to spend time with family and friends, and what better way to extend this idea beyond our restaurant than by providing support to help refurbish outdoor, public spaces for families to enjoy.”

The new quarter mile markers provide easy and fast distance information to the trail users, such as runners and walkers, as well as location in relation to the entire trail system. User location information is useful for trail users as a means to meet up with friends and relatives along the trail, and also for emergency situations where the exact location is needed. The comprehensive trail maps provide trail users an overview of the entire trail and information on what type of facilities are connected to or located near the trails itself. The map provides distances from relevant points along the trail such as entrances and significant features along the trail system.

The Brushy Creek Trail East Trail Head is located at 1100 Forest Bluff Trail and the Greater Lake Creek Trail Head is located behind the Clay Madsen Recreation Center, 1600 Gattis School Road.

Trails across the United States contribute to a more interconnected community and foster active modes of transportation such as walking and biking. By their very nature, trails also protect, sustain and restore open spaces – making communities more livable and improving the quality of life.
For more information about the Great American Trails program, visit nrpa.org/greatamericantrails.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people.  Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit NRPA.org. For online access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit parksandrecreation.org.

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants, with $7.8 million given in fiscal year 2012. The Darden Foundation carries out its mission by focusing philanthropic efforts and resources on the following program areas: Access to Postsecondary Education, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor Grants.

LongHorn Steakhouse opened its first restaurant in Atlanta in 1981 and today operates more than 390 restaurants in 36 states.  LongHorn is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company. For more information about LongHorn, please visit longhornsteakhouse.com.

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2012

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