Hays County recently acquired Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve (pictured above) in an effort to permanently protect and preserve the 1,068-acre conservation easement from future development. Photo courtesy of Hays County
Hays County acquires Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve
Hays County recently acquired Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve in an effort to permanently protect and preserve the 1,068-acre conservation easement from future development.
Hays County said the easement — which was proposed and sponsored by the Hill Country Conservancy — will be funded through the 2020 Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond.
“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.”
Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve is located next to the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, the La Cima Parkland and the La Cima Regional Habitat Conservation Plan Preserve.
The total combined area of more than 3,200 acres features a unique biodiverse habitat. The area includes a significant Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat, Hays County said, adding that it also contains natural springs, canyons, caves and additional karst features that carry water directly into the Edwards Aquifer.
The county stated that the preserve will be part of a network of protected conservation lands in the area, which will create one of Texas’ largest unbroken blocks of open space, and water quality protection lands.
The Hays County Commissioners Court approved $9.6 million for the Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve conservation easement in September 2022. Hays County said it built on its existing partnership with La Cima to work with HCC to “identify a solution that would be an asset to both current and future Hays County residents” as the land is highly desirable for both conservation and development.
Kathy Miller, CEO of Hill Country Conservancy, said the Purgatory Creek Nature Preserve serves 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.”
“HCC values the protection of natural areas that conserve critical natural resources and wildlife habitat,” Miller said “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.”