What’s being done to protect one of the longest caves in Texas? KSAT Explains

Honey Creek Spring Ranch added as a conservation easement, safeguards land from future development

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department combined forces with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nature Conservancy to safeguard Honey Creek Spring Ranch in Comal County from future development.

Honey Creek Spring Ranch, which has been owned and operated the Moore family for more than 150 years, has been regarded as an area of ecological importance.

This is not the first time land in this area has received a conservation easement. In 1981, the Nature Conservancy acquired 1,825 acres in Comal Country. That acreage was transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife to create a 2,294-acre Honey Creek State Natural Area.

This latest easement will now add an additional 621 acres to those protected lands. There has been a push to utilize more conservation easements across the county.

Hundreds of acres of land are now protected from development in western Comal County (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

The property is viewed as important due to the fact its home to endangered to threatened species. This includes the endangered golden-cheeked warbler as well as the black-capped vireo. In addition, Honey Creek Cave, which runs underneath the property, is the largest cave system in Texas. Several miles of underground river emerges from the ranch’s namesake and is the primary source of water for Honey Creek, which is a tributary to the Guadalupe River. The cave also serves as a conduit to the Edwards Aquifer.

“Honey Creek Spring Ranch is home to critical wildlife species and unspoiled ecological features which are quickly disappearing from Texas. Six generations of my family have called this special place home,” said co-landowner Joyce Moore. “And after 150 years, our stewardship efforts have always included leaving the land in a healthier state. With rampant development now occurring throughout the area, it is even more critical for my family to continue this legacy of conservation into the future.”

Honey Creek Spring Ranch in Comal County is regarded as an area of ecological importance. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

The landowners offered a bargain sale in order to make the conservation easement a reality. It was also funded by the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Council and is one of the most recent properties benefitting from the protections of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Farm and Ranch Lands Conservations Program and Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. The Nature Conservancy worked with the landowners to complete the transaction.

“This latest land protection win helps create a more resilient and connected Central Texas,” said Suzanne Scott, state director for the Nature Conservancy in Texas. “The Honey Creek Spring Ranch easement illustrates how landowners and agencies can collaborate to protect land, safeguard water, and protect native and threatened species—critical work in rapidly growing areas like ours.”

“The preservation of the Honey Creek Spring Ranch is a critically important piece of the broader efforts to conserve Honey Creek and the surrounding watershed,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “This property, which has been well stewarded by the landowners for many generations, is located near two of our state parks and provides essential habitat for many species living in the Texas Hill Country. The efforts put forward by the landowners and our partner agencies to conserve this and many other properties in Texas are truly a testament toward the importance of conserving our wild places for the people of Texas.”

The conservation easement will not allow for public access.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides footage, information about Honey Creek Spring Ranch and its ecological importance.


Dive underground into Comal County’s Honey Creek Cave, the largest cave system in Texas

About the Authors:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT. She has been a proud member of the KSAT Weather Authority Team since 2017. Sarah is a Clark High School and Texas A&M University graduate. She previously worked at KTEN News. When Sarah is not busy forecasting, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and cat, and playing music.