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Greenbelt Alliance set to build new trail

Greenbelt Alliance set to build new trail

LAND PRESERVATION
Sunday, June 16, 2024

The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance is committed to preserving land in San Marcos, particularly in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, in order to bolster aquifer supplies and save precious ecosystems from development. The group has officially preserved another plot of land for a future trail, the Limestone Link, which has been a collaborative effort between SMGA, Hays County Parks Department and the Great Springs Project.

San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance President Jon Cradit said the Limestone Link is located on Old Ranch Road 12 and is situated on land owned by Hays County.

“The reason it is so important is it connects two of the existing green space natural areas that the city already has, and we've got trails on,” Cradit said. “[Limestone Link connects] Ringtail Ridge, just north of Ranch Road 12, and River Recharge, which is at the end of Bishop Street.”

Cradit said that the Limestone Link is preserved and is a critical water quality area.

“It's right on top of the Edward Aquifer recharge zone,” Cradit said. “The water that goes into the ground there is what comes out in the springs and into the river, so it's a critical connection for water quality.”

The trail will be built entirely with Greenbelt Alliance volunteer efforts.

“We’ll probably put in 1,000 hours of volunteer work to build the trails,” Cradit said. “It's fun work. It's gratifying, because, in the end, we will have a place that families can go out and walk with their kids and enjoy nature, and it protects our environment.”

The trails on Limestone Link have to be done by next March, but Cradit is hopeful that they will be completed by November and December. Regardless of completion date, the property will not be accessible to the public until 2025.

“It depends on the weather. Any weather conditions, rain and floods and stuff, will set us back,” Cradit said. “The windstorm we had the other week, all of our volunteers were out cleaning the existing trails of what we call widow makers, which are the limbs that are broken off and hanging up high in the trees and could fall onto the trail. We have been spending a couple of weeks now helping the city's crew clean the trails, get rid of all of the broken limbs and trees and opening the existing trails back up. So if something comes as far as a weather event or a storm event, we’ll kind of pull off the trail building, and we will focus on trail maintenance.”

SMGA, Hays County Parks Department and the Great Springs Project have grand plans for Limestone Link.

“We will put in a trail, and then we may come back later and add to it or modify it a little bit,” Cradit said. “We want to be sure that people can park over at … Ringtail Ridge … can hike or bike Ringtail then cross over Old Ranch Road 12 into Limestone Link [and] go through Limestone Link and then end up over at River Recharge. There will eventually be a parking lot over there that can be used. So we’re trying to connect that, and then that also will eventually connect into Upper Purgatory Park down to Lower [Purgatory]. Then in the other direction, it will eventually tie into the Spring Lake natural area, so we'll have pretty much a loop around three quarters of the city.”

The SMGA's hard work has not gone unnoticed. They recently received a $1,000 check from Ozona Bank, which Cradit said will go toward tools and other trail making equipment. The group also received the Roger’s Family Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award from the city of San Marcos for all the hard work that they have put into hiking and natural areas, which have contributed to the city’s travel destination worthiness. SMGA was also acknowledged by Texas State University with a nonprofit award.

“We worked with the engineering students last year designing a trail and a couple of bridges that will someday be put into the natural area,” Cradit said. “We worked with the Geography Department on many of their environmental geography projects, mapping and GIS projects that they have. We try to be as active with the university [as possible] and bring in the students in as much as we can.”

Learn more about what is happening with the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance at this link smgreenbelt. org/news-events.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666