The Nature Center is an undeveloped area managed by the City of Temple Parks & Recreation Department in conjunction with the City of Belton Parks & Recreation Department and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The area features scenic overlooks, natural winding trails, water ways and wildlife.
MapThis map provides an overview of the center and its expansive trail system.
Volunteer!Volunteers help keep Miller Springs Nature Center functioning and clean. To be added to an email list and receive notification about future volunteer dates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Civic or volunteer groups looking for opportunities/projects, please fill out this form or reach out to our department for more information.
HistoryTennessee Valley was located on the Leon River five miles northwest of Belton in Bell County. The community was founded in 1851 by a party of settlers who originated from the Tennessee valley and named the new settlement for their former home. The Tennessee Valley school had some seventy-two pupils in 1896. There was a commercial pecan orchard in the 1920s, and in 1948 the community had two churches and two businesses. In the mid-1950s the site of the community was inundated by Lake Belton.
Miller Springs opened as a park after construction of the Belton Dam and Lake in 1954. Owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers, camping and fishing were popular activities on both sides of the dam. The area was left open to the public with no controls from the 1960's-1980's, and vandalism problems subsequently occurred during that time.
From December 1991 to March of 1992, some 22 inches of rainfall in the area caused the lake elevation to rise 40 feet. Water overflowed the spillway for 42 days, reaching a peak depth of nearly 4 feet. The water flow down into Miller Springs created new canyons and exposed geological formations. In 1993, the Miller Springs Alliance took over the lease and maintained the area, with a desire to protect it and see it used for educational and environmentally sustainable activities. The alliance operated using volunteers until 2017. In 2018, the City of Temple and City of Belton took over the lease to maintain the area.