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…

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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…

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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…

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‘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…

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Vote in November to fund our state parks for future generations of Texans

Vote in November to fund our state parks for future generations of Texans

Some of our families’ best summer adventures over the years have been at Texas’ state parks. And the numbers indicate that you and your family have probably enjoyed our parks and historic sites over the years, too: Nearly 10 million people visited state parks in 2017, up about 40 percent since 2012. Texas is growing quickly. More people are visiting the parks than ever before, and we couldn’t be happier about it. However, this puts pressure on already-strained park infrastructure,…

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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…

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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…

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San Marcos City Council passes resolution for support of Emerald Crown Trail

San Marcos City Council passes resolution for support of Emerald Crown Trail

The San Marcos City Council voted 7-0 to pass a resolution for support of the Emerald Crown Regional Trail Proposal on Tuesday. The Emerald Crown Trail is a proposed regional trail system that aims to connect Hays County cities and ultimately cities to the North and South. The project was developed through a collaborative effort between members of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, Hays County, the City of San Marcos, the City of Kyle, the City of Buda, the Guadalupe-Blanco…

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Austin’s eels born in the Sargasso Sea, surmount Longhorn Dam

Austin’s eels born in the Sargasso Sea, surmount Longhorn Dam

You’ve heard of the endemic salamanders that live in Barton Springs, but did you know that Austin is also home to nocturnal eels? Swimmers who frequent the springs by moonlight sometimes catch a glimpse of sinuous yellow eels moving slowly through strands of algae and blades of aquatic grass on nightly excursions in search of food. These are American eels, Anguilla rostrata, which plumb the depths of Barton Springs and Lady Bird Lake, hiding in dense vegetation or rocky crags…

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State-funded studies help federal agency remove two mussels from endangered species candidate list

State-funded studies help federal agency remove two mussels from endangered species candidate list

  • September 5, 2019
  • News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that two Texas mussels can be removed from the list of candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The determinations were based mainly on research funded by the Texas Comptroller’s office and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Genetic studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and conservation maps made by Texas A&M University’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) showed that the smooth pimpleback and golden orb mussels actually…

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