Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

Hays County plans to transform El Rancho Cima into public park along Blanco River

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — It’s something many Wimberley residents have been aching for: a public park with waterfront access. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima El Rancho Cima is a nearly 2,400 acre property County might use land for public park Now, that dream could finally come to fruition. Hays County has the ability to secure 533 acres of El Rancho Cima, with land on both sides of the Blanco River. This purchase would give the public…

Read More
Prop. 5 aims to give parks all across the state a boost

Prop. 5 aims to give parks all across the state a boost

State parks and historic sites that are suffering from neglect, deferred maintenance and overuse — including a natural area near San Antonio that regularly draws a long line of cars — would benefit if Proposition 5 on the Nov. 5 ballot wins voter approval. “We’re reached a point of crisis here with collapsing infrastructure, parks being closed, being loved to death,” said David Yeates, CEO of the Texas Wildlife Association, representing about 9,000 wildlife stewards, property owners and hunters. Yeates…

Read More
Austin joins legal fight against Permian Highway Pipeline

Austin joins legal fight against Permian Highway Pipeline

The city of Austin is signaling it intends to sue Kinder Morgan, the company behind the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline — a 430-mile natural gas line that has provoked major opposition in the Texas Hill Country. In filing its Notice of Intent to sue, Austin joins opposition already being mounted by San Marcos, Kyle, the Barton Springs Aquifer Conservation District and a property-owner group called the TREAD Coalition. The pipeline has already been the subject of suits and counter suits. In June,…

Read More
Parks essential for health and wealth

Parks essential for health and wealth

In 1992, when we decided to relocate the corporate headquarters of AT&T to Texas, we did so for a number of reasons: the Texas business climate and the growth of economic opportunity; the work ethic of the Texas workforce; and the quality of life in Texas. State and local parks were an important part of our consideration. State and local parks are essential to providing outdoor experiences to an increasingly urban state. They help preserve our Texas heritage, culture and…

Read More
City reaches milestone for cave site restoration

City reaches milestone for cave site restoration

City staff members have completed a draft land management plan to protect the city’s natural resources at the William H. Russell Karst Preserve, the 191-acre Southwest Austin site previously known as the Blowing Sink Research Management Area. The natural features of the land, which was formerly used as a livestock ranch, have been subject to decades of abuse, posing a threat to the Edwards Aquifer as well as several vulnerable wildlife species. Serving as a formal agreement among Austin Water, the Parks…

Read More
Conservation easements like on Cherry Springs Ranch push back against development

Conservation easements like on Cherry Springs Ranch push back against development

“It’s huge,” said Frank Davis, the Hill Country Conservancy’s chief conservation officer. He’s referring to the recent conservation easement on the 1,038-acre Cherry Springs Ranch in Spicewood. “Spicewood is right in the path of future development, and Cherry Springs Ranch, it’s pristine Hill Country land,” Davis said. “It’s something hard to find as we keep developing out to the west (of Austin). Straddling the Burnet-Blanco county line, Cherry Springs Ranch has a range of landscapes, including lush, vegetated grottoes. Seventy-seven…

Read More
‘History is being made’: Plans to turn former Boy Scout property into public park along Blanco River in Hays County

‘History is being made’: Plans to turn former Boy Scout property into public park along Blanco River in Hays County

WIMBERLEY, Texas — More than 2,000 acres of land with Blanco River waterfront property has been closed off to the public for decades. The Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts owned the “El Rancho Cima” land for 60 years. But now, thanks to an opportunity for Hays County to purchase a piece of that land, 533 acres could be open to the public for hiking, biking and swimming. The land, off of FM 32 just outside Wimberley, includes more than a mile…

Read More
Precinct 3 office invites residents to public meeting on El Rancho Cima conservation efforts

Precinct 3 office invites residents to public meeting on El Rancho Cima conservation efforts

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (Oct. 1, 2019) – The Hays County Precinct 3 Office will host a public meeting Wednesday, October 9, to discuss recent efforts to conserve portions of El Rancho Cima. The meeting will be held at the Wimberley Community Center, 14068 Ranch Road 12, at 6 p.m. El Rancho Cima, also known as the Boy Scout Ranch, is located 18 miles west of San Marcos on Ranch Road 32 along the Devil’s Backbone. The property includes…

Read More

New snorkel tours offer up-close view of protected San Marcos springs

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The springs that once played host to an underwater theme park are now protected, and the group leading conservation efforts at Spring Lake is offering an up-close view of the area’s ecology. The springs that form Spring Lake, the headwaters of the San Marcos River, host a variety of endangered species, including the Texas blind salamander. The health of the springs has a direct impact downstream on popular tubing and swimming spots. “We’re trying to…

Read More
Reflections on Texas, the outdoors and 40 years of writing and photography

Reflections on Texas, the outdoors and 40 years of writing and photography

Shannon Tompkins, who retires as September arrives and hunting seasons begin, has covered outdoor recreation and natural resources issues for four decades. September’s arrival marks a time of transition for Texas’ natural world and those whose hearts and actions are tied to the rhythms of land, water, sky and the life in, on and over it. This makes the month special for all Texans, but especially those of us who fish, hunt or otherwise spend time engaged with the natural…

Read More