While standing on the balcony of a hotel in London, Lady Bird Johnson and Ann Butler, the wife of Austin’s mayor, admired the green trail that follows the Thames. The scene inspired them to hatch a plan to beautify their own waterways. Over the next three decades, in partnership with local garden clubs, they planted trees and flowers along the polluted shores of Lady Bird Lake, undoing centuries of damage from the flooding of the Colorado River.
Now the trail receives 1.5 million visitors each year and creates an oasis among Austin's skyscrapers and streets. The Trail Foundation implements improvements to the trail’s infrastructure and environment while honoring the vision of its founders. The foundation has built tree groves, landscape lighting, and a bathroom that reduces overall maintenance costs and blends into the natural environment without the use of an invisibility cloak.