HAYS COUNTY – Hays County has acquired Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve, a 1,068-acre conservation easement, to permanently protect and preserve the land from future development.
This easement was proposed and sponsored by the Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) to be funded through the 2020 Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond. The property is located next to the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, the La Cima Parkland and the La Cima Regional Habitat Conservation Plan Preserve.
The combined area will protect more than 3,200 acres of uniquely biodiverse habitat including the Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat, natural springs, canyons, caves and other karst features that carry water directly into the Edwards Aquifer. The preserve will be part of the network of protected conservation lands in the area, creating one of the state’s largest unbroken blocks of urban wilderness, open space and water quality protection lands.
In September 2022, the Hays County Commissioners Court approved approximately $9.6 million for the Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve conservation easement.
“HCC values the protection of natural areas that conserve critical natural resources and wildlife habitat,” said Kathy Miller, CEO of Hill Country Conservancy in a news release. “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. We are thrilled to work with Hays County and La Cima to help provide public access to this beautiful Hill Country site.”
She added that this preserve is a great example of a private and public partnership that can balance the need to plan for future growth while preserving the surrounding ecosystem and the community’s access to nature.
“This project is a wonderful accomplishment for Hays County and its partners,” commissioner Lon Shell said. “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.”