Oakland Lake Park is a small, hilly park on Fort Worth's East Side. It is very near another of Fort Worth's underused, under appreciated park gems, that being Tandy Hills Park. A paved trail meanders for a couple miles around a peaceful little lake surrounded by oak and elm covered hills. It is a birdwatcher's paradise. The birds, like ducks and geese, are quite the food burglars. Many park visitors come armed with bread to feed the birds.

During summer you'll see a lot of turtles, at times you'll come up on one on the paved trail that will startle you as it races off. Yes, when motivated, turtles move fast, despite myth and legend. A big rock shelter with picnic tables and boarded up fireplaces is a popular place for BBQs, with some folks hauling in big BBQers that smell very good when in action.

Scroll to the End to find a Map and Directions to Oakland Lake Park.
click a thumbnail to view a photo

You will know you found Oakland Lake Park when you find this sign.

We'll walk around Oakland counter-clockwise, parking on the east side parking lot. Here we are look southwest.

Look south standing on the Oakland Lake dam

You can see the tall tower known as the Fort Worth Space Needle on the far side of Oakland Lake. The Fort Worth Space Needle is just outside the eastern side of Tandy Hills Park, standing in the area where Chesapeake hopes to be allowed to drill and desecrate for gas under the Tandy Hills Park land.
Looking east across Oakland Lake Dam.
A dire warning from the Texas Department of Health regarding the possession of fish from this lake. If the birds and turtles can handle the lake what is so bad in it that makes the fish toxic? One can't help but wonder.
Whatever it is that makes Oakland Lake toxic must be pretty bad since judging from this sign there is a City Code forbidding either boating or swimming in the lake.
We are now up on the patio of the rock structure mentioned earlier, looking down a stairway towards the lake.
A sign explaining why Oakland Lake is too dangerous to swim in and why the fish are toxic. The sign explains that, "When it rains water flows down the street and takes with it dirt, oil from leaky cars, litter, leaves, grass clippings, fertilizers and pesticides from yards, pet waste, cigarette butts and soap from cars washed on driveways. All that dirty water flows into the nearest storm water drain in the street, then travels underground and ends up in the nearest stream, river or lake. This polluted water not only looks bad, it causes harm to fish and plants."

Still doesn't really explain why you can't float a boat in this lake. How come other cities, Seattle comes to mind, have lakes inside the city, some huge, some small, in which you can swim, boat and fish? And are surrounded by streets, homes and everything else that is here in Fort Worth, well, maybe except for such a high per capita number of litterers.

Interesting Feedback from a former East Fort Worth Resident
regarding swimming in Oakland Lake....

You were wondering on your blog / photo page of Oakland Park about the toxic lake.

I grew up in East Fort Worth and we never believed the lake was toxic.

But what I do remember happening is this:

Back in the late 1970s, teenagers from south of Lancaster Avenue were venturing up to Oakland Hills park to use it as a swimming pool, because there were no other nearby ponds deep and clean enough to swim in and there were no public pools (and of course no private ones either) in the area south of Lancaster in those days. The park quickly (in a matter of weeks) became an attractive location for petty criminals from outside the local neighborhood, with the sudden onset of muggings and violent crime in a park where there had been no crime at all prior to the lake becoming an impromptu swimming hole.

If I remember right, a man was killed by muggers while visiting the park with his wife / girlfriend at about the same time. For some reason, I think he was a policeman.

So the local community convinced the city to put up the toxic water signs and swimming in the pond almost immediately stopped, and the non-local resident users of the park went elsewhere.

That's at least how I recall it.

Wes Taylor
Former East Fort Worth Resident
Continuing south on the meandering paved trail. We are now on the west side of the lake.
Looking northeast from the south end of Oakland Lake, at the Fort Worth UFO, aka the Giant Blue Water Tower.
You can see the lake in the distance through the trees.
Now we are on the southeast side of the lake, heading up a hill.
An almost treeless hill on the east side of the lake. Come spring this will all be very very green.
On the east side of the lake now, at lake level, looking at a flock of birds risking their lives in the toxic lake. Out in the middle of the lake a garbage can floats.
These park visitors must not have read the warning signs because one of them is sticking her hands in the water.
We are almost back to our starting point, looking east up a hill.

That concludes our hike around Oakland Lake Park. Come and enjoy it yourself, but remember, do not swim, boat, or keep any fish. That would be a bad bad thing.

Location of Oakland Lake Park
Exit the I-30 Freeway at Oakland Avenue, east of downtown Fort Worth

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