Hays County celebrates Earth Day with upcoming land purchase of Sentinel Peak Preserve

Sentinel Peak Preserve is the County’s largest conservation easement

Staff Reports

HAYS COUNTY – Hays County expects to close on its purchase of the Sentinel Peak Preserve by April 29, 2022, mere days after celebrating Earth Day. This is the first project funded under the 2020 Hays County Parks and Open Space Bond.

This 530-plus acre property located just west of Wimberley will serve as a Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat preserve, a federally listed endangered species included in the Hays County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan. It will also feature a riverfront park along an approximately one-mile stretch of a pristine segment of the Blanco River. This riverfront park will include low impact swimming recreation and other activities to ensure the conservation and environmental protection priorities of the preserve.

Photo credited to Christopher Zebo.

In 2019, Hays County partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Texas to acquire the Sentinel Peak Preserve. The Nature Conservancy will continue to hold the conservation easement after the county acquires the land.

“The Nature Conservancy was very happy to partner with Hays County to protect this property that is not only significant for its conservation value but has also been so important to so many people over the years,” said Jeff Francell of the Nature Conservancy. “We are excited to see how it develops as a public park and natural area.” 

As the park plan is implemented, Hays County will provide reservation-based, low-impact public access along the river and trails. This project will also preserve the condition of water quality and quantity for the Blanco River, San Marcos Springs and River, and the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers.

The bond identified $6 million for the purchase of the Sentinel Peak Preserve, which will be combined with $7 million from the 2016 voter-approved Transportation Bond set specifically for environmental mitigation. Hays County is grateful that TNC assisted with securing this property to establish this preserve and allow the incorporation of a public access component.

“This couldn’t have happened without the voters of Hays County,” said Hays County Commissioner, Lon Shell (Pct. 3). “It’s a great thing when residents across the county understand the need for and importance of conserving the beautiful hill country land and wildlife. It’s something we’re doing for the future generations of our community, and this is only the beginning.” 

El Rancho Cima - Aerial Satellite Map

About the Bond 

The 2020 Parks & Open Space Bond called for the issuance of $75 million in general bonds, along with other potential funding mechanisms, to establish parks, open spaces, conservation lands, and other recreational opportunities. In November 2021, the Parks & Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC) provided project and funding recommendations to the Hays County Commissioners Court.

To view the list of recommended projects and sign up to receive park bond updates, visit www.haysparksbond.com or email info@haysparksbond.com.

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