Written by Phil Cerroni
H Ferrell Hogbottoms has sat, unmolested by man, across from Irving’s Municipal Landfill for the past sixty years. Or so we thought. Thousands of tons of trash have washed north from the heart of Irving and been deposited on the Hogbottoms property in route to the Trinity River. The turn of the century gravel pit that was slowly being reclaimed by nature, is also the dumping ground for much of Irving’s illegal trash.
The 126 acres of marshland and forest is reminiscent of East Texas covered in lush foliage and vibrant colors. Within the limits of this tranquil wilderness, lives an array or lizards, snakes, birds and mammals some of which, although they are not native to North Texas, have put down roots and now thrive. Its obscurity springs from the fact that, unlike Trinity View Park or the Campion Trail, the area has been privately owned and virtually inaccessible for the past 100 years.
The current garbage crisis is not the first instance of aggressive interference with this particular piece of land. In the early 1900’s the property was purchased and used as a gravel mine for road construction. The company shut down most of its operation in the 1930’s but continued mining some parts until as late as the 1950’s, informed Jim Widener a real estate lawyer turned conservationist who bought the property about two years ago.
“All of this land, every bit of it, has been tampered with greatly by man,” Widener said. “Where you see dirt, you’re going to see concrete under it because they ran such heavy equipment on it in the early 1900’s, they had to put the concrete and cover it with dirt or else their equipment would sink.”