Open Space & Natural Areas
These projects involve acquiring land to protect and conserve wildlife corridors; protecting rare, threatened and endangered species habitats; and protecting historical and cultural landscapes.
Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve
Project Sponsor: Hill Country Conservancy | Precinct 3
In September 2022, the Hays County Commissioners Court approved approximately $9.6M for the Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve conservation easement - a total of 1,068 acres. With this land being highly desirable for both conservation and development, Hays County and La Cima built upon their existing partnership to work with the Hill Country Conservancy to identify a solution that would be an asset to both current and future Hays County residents. The property is located next to the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, the La Cima Parkland, and the La Cima Regional Habitat Conservation Plan Preserve.
The combined area will protect more than 3,200 acres of uniquely biodiverse habitat including significant Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat, natural springs, canyons, caves, and other karst features that carry water directly into the Edwards Aquifer. The preserve will be part of the network of protected conservation lands in the area, creating one of the State’s largest unbroken blocks of urban wilderness, open space, and water quality protection lands. View the map here.
Eastside Park Acquisition
Project Sponsor: City of San Marcos | Precinct 1
Hays County awarded $6.6M to the City of San Marcos from the Parks and Open Space Bond for the land purchase of approximately 130 acres for the development of a new park in San Marcos. The purchase of this property would allow for the potential relocation of pickleball courts and swimming pool, open space for flood mitigation, conservation, and passive recreation.
The project goals are to provide ample open space in the park; provide a range of recreational experiences to service all community members and provide connectivity to other the parks and open spaces in the area.
Project Sponsor: Great Springs Project | Precinct 3
Hays County Commissioners approved just over $2M from the Parks and Open Space Bond for a conservation and trail easement over more than half of the 694-acre Presa Grande property. Located in San Marcos within the Sink Creek watershed, the property is heavily forested with significant karst features, and is home to the endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler.
By conserving this land, it helps protect water quality and quantity inflows into the Edwards Aquifer and San Marcos Springs. Future proposed plans include a public trail that would provide potential connectivity between Emerald Crown Trail and Violet Crown Trail. View the map here.
Sentinel Peak Preserve
Project Sponsor: Hays County | Precinct 3
Hays County purchased Sentinel Peak Preserve in May 2022. This 530-plus acre property located just west of Wimberley will serve as a Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat preserve, a federally listed endangered species that is included in the Hays County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan.
It will also feature a riverfront park along an approximate 1-mile stretch of a pristine segment of the Blanco River. This riverfront park will include low impact swimming recreation and other family friendly activities to ensure the conservation and environmental protection priorities of the preserve. In 2019, Hays County approved a partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Texas to acquire the Sentinel Peak Preserve, who will continue to hold the conservation easement on the land.
As the park plan is implemented, the County will provide for reservation-based, low-impact public access along the river and trails. This project will also preserve the condition of water quality and quantity for the Blanco River, San Marcos Springs and River, and the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers. Hays County Commissioners approved $6M for the easement, and an additional contribution of $7M from the 2016 Hays County Transportation Bond.