1,000+ acres of biodiverse Texas Hill Country permanently protected from development

Hays County acquired Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve thanks to 2020 bond

Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve (Hill Country Conservancy)

More than 1,000 acres of uniquely biodiverse land in the Texas Hill Country has been permanently protected from future development.

Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve is a 1,068-acre conservation easement that includes Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat, natural springs, canyons, caves, and other karst features that carry water directly into the Edwards Aquifer, according to a press release from Hays County.

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The Hays County Commissioners Court approved approximately $9.6 million for the Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve conservation easement in September 2022 thanks to the Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond.

The 2020 Parks and Open Space Bond called for the issuance of $75 million to establish parks, open spaces, conservation lands, and other recreational opportunities in Hays County.

Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve (Hill Country Conservancy)

“HCC values the protection of natural areas that conserve critical natural resources and wildlife habitat,” said Kathy Miller, CEO of Hill Country Conservancy. “This easement is just one example of how we do this — planning for growth while ensuring we preserve our most precious natural lands and habitats.”

Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve is located next to the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, the La Cima Parkland, and the La Cima Regional Habitat Conservation Plan Preserve.

Altogether the combined areas cover more than 3,200 acres of protected conservation lands in the Texas Hill Country, creating one of the state’s largest unbroken blocks of urban wilderness, open space, and water quality protection lands, the press release states.

“We are thrilled to work with Hays County and La Cima to help provide public access to this beautiful Hill Country site,” said Miller.

Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve (Hill Country Conservancy)

Hays County Natural Resources Coordinator Alexandra Thompson told KSAT Wednesday that “there have been discussions to incorporate a trail segment that would connect the northwestern boundary of Purgatory Creek Natural Area to the La Cima development’s internal parkland, but those details are still under negotiation.”

Hays County Commissioner for Precinct 3, Lon Shell, called the project a wonderful accomplishment for Hays County and its partners.

“Hays County is one of the fastest growing areas in Central Texas and in the nation. With growth at this rate, we work to identify and improve upon partnerships that help make our community a welcoming and equitable place for all,” said Shell.

Related: New nature project could bring 100-mile hiking trail connecting San Antonio and Austin

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