Kyle signs support for Emerald Crown Trail

Kyle, along with Hays County and neighboring cities, is signing on to support the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA) and other park development agencies to further a massive trail project.

On Aug. 6, Kyle City Council voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution maintaining support for the proposed Emerald Crown Trail project. The trail would serve as the “backbone” for a series of trails connecting Hays County.

Organizer Mark Taylor, president of the SMGA, said the trail will be a natural, preserved system meant to benefit the environment and support nonmotorized transit. The trails are intended to be walker, hiker and biker friendly.

“It’s a way to get from San Marcos to Buda and in-between those communities by walking, hiking, cycling … but not in a motor vehicle,” Taylor said. “We want to work with landowners who see this as an advantage and not use eminent domain.”

Project organizers began seeking support in 2017 and the project is still in its early stages. However, the project is now overseen by a large working group which has created a trail master plan, held public forums and conducted planning with city and county officials.

Taylor said the trail received a grant of community assistance, which offered no money, but provided planning assistance from the National Parks Service in September 2017.

North of the county, the Violet Crown Trail is in the works and is about 50% complete, Taylor said. Part of a grant for the Violet Crown Trail will go to Kyle to continue work on the Emerald Crown Trail. The two trails will connect in west Kyle and will continue on to various routes in different directions.

Taylor said some residents have expressed support for the trail, but do not want a trail near their home. Taylor said SMGA has made several drafts to appeal to the community.

Moving forward, the working group will be looking for grants and other means of outside funding to support the building of the trail which will include natural paths, concrete paths and rocky trails.

Mayor Travis Mitchell supports the building of the trail and urged Taylor to find support from Kinder Morgan, which is planning to build its 420-mile, 42-inch Permian Highway Pipeline through Kyle.

“Have they considered reaching out to our wonderful partners at Kinder Morgan to see about getting a contribution from them?” Mitchell asked.

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