Land in the Hill Country is hard to come by these days, which makes what is happening near Boerne even more remarkable. Nature is reclaiming a sizable chunk of what is fast becoming part of the urban sprawl.
"It’s rugged,” remarked James Rice, with Texas Parks and Wildlife. “When we open this place for the public, it is going to be a rugged experience."
Rice is the superintendent of the Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area. This Natural Area, as designated by the state, is a plot of land that spans 3800 acres, around 8 miles southwest of Boerne. It sits just to the west of the Bandera and Kendall County line.
Once known as the 3K’s ranch, the land was donated to the state by Albert and Bessie Kronkosky in 2011. They spent years preserving the plot of land and protecting it from being subdivided, then bequeathed it to the state in the hopes that preservation would continue. Now, Rice is working to do just that.
"I would like people 50 to 60 years from now to see what we’re seeing right here today,” said Rice.
Rice went before that state in 2011 to convince officials that the piece of land was unique and needed preservation.
"This property is worth saving,” said Rice. “It’s worth us managing in a way that the uniqueness will stay intact."
The end result is a raw piece of Hill Country terrain that one day will potentially be shared by everyone. But, before campgrounds or trails can go in, extensive planning is needed. The land serves as a habitat for the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler, the seldom found Sycamore Leaf Snowbell, and the rare Madrone tree.
"Above revenue, above heavy visitation, we're going to manage our resources first,” said Rice.
With little funding, volunteers have stepped in to help map the land and document features. The opening to the public as a State Natural Area, said Rice, is still a ways away, with the planning phase expected to take up to a year.