SAN ANTONIO – The Honey Creek State Natural Area in Spring Branch has grown by 515 acres, thanks to a $25 million acquisition that protects the area amid the commercial and residential development boom.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says that the purchase protects one of the state’s most pristine streams and its surrounding area, which is home to native and threatened species.
TPWD said it partnered with The Nature Conservancy in Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and landowners Ronnie and Terry Urbanczyk for the acquisition, which was announced last week. The funds were made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, state appropriations for land acquisitions and private donations.
“Honey Creek is one of the most pristine streams not only in the Hill Country, but in all of Texas,” Zach Spector, the director of conservation programs for TPWF, said in a news release. “During the Texas State Parks Centennial year, we’re so pleased to not only be conserving one of our state’s finest streams, but also growing our state parks system by expanding the Honey Creek State Natural Area. This is truly a win for fish, wildlife and people.”
The Honey Creek State Natural Area is adjacent to the Guadalupe River State Park. Access to the nature preserve is available to the public, but only by guided tour.
The largest cave system in Texas, the Honey Creek Cave, is also nearby and includes an underground river that feeds into Honey Creek.
Honey Creek itself is a tributary of the Guadalupe River, which flows into Canyon Lake.
The area is home to the Comal blind salamander, golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo and at least six invertebrates found in only a few caves in central Texas, TPWD states.
About 1,800 acres of land in the area was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1981. In 1985, The Nature Conservancy transferred it to TPWD to create the 2,294-acre Honey Creek State Natural Area.
With the expanded footprint, guests will have more access to outdoor recreation and nature education, as well as a venue for special events.
The event venue will be available to the public at some point in the future.
“Together with the adjacent Guadalupe River State Park, these protected lands encompass nearly 5,000 acres of habitat that sustain plants and wildlife, benefit water quality and provide opportunities for people to spend time in nature,” Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin said in the release. “It will be our privilege to plan for a future of family picnics, nature walks and educational programming that will support stewardship of this special place.”