HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Hays County is now home to one of the state’s largest area of wilderness, open space and water quality protection land.

That’s after it partnered with an organization and a developer to make sure an area in San Marcos remains untouched.

Frank Davis with the Hill Country Conservancy said it all started when La Cima, a housing developer, approached them about 1,068 acres of land they owned.

“There are caves, sinkholes, cracks, fissures, all sorts of ways in which the water makes its way directly down into the aquifer with no filtration. So this is an extremely sensitive property,” Davis said.

He said La Cima proposed the land be a conservation easment.

“They’re basically saying right now we’re making the choice for the future to ensure that this land is protected forever. If it changes ownership, that conservation easement remains in place,” Davis said.

That expanded the combined area of protected land to 3,200 acres.

Hays County expanded its conservation land to 3,200 acres. (Photo/Hays County)
Davis said while it’ll take some time, the idea is to incorporate trails throughout.

Nature is what Kate and Greg Schnautz enjoy most about the hill country.

“I love coming here and looking at the diversity of plant life through the different seasons,” Kate said.

They said it brought them comfort know there are efforts to preserve the natural beauty in the area.

“Go up and you know, touch a tree, smell a flower. That feeds our soul. I believe it’s so vital,” Kate said.

There are ongoing efforts to bring even more trails to the county. It’s in the process of figuring out how to spend the 2020 Parks & Open Space Bond that totaled $75 million.

That money is meant to help establish parks, open spaces and conservation lands throughout Hays County.