Land donation would expand natural area
Trust for Public Land planning to donate 93 acres to the city.
SAN MARCOS — The Trust for Public Land is planning to donate 93 acres to the city of San Marcos that would enlarge Purgatory Creek Greenspace, a popular, 570acre natural area that is managed by the city. The city council may accept the donation in January.
Conservationists eventually hope to connect Prospect Park and the additional green space, located off Wonder World Drive, to the San Marcos River.
The Trust for Public Land, along with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and private donors, purchased the 93 acres for almost $1.4 million, said Richard Salmon, San Marcos grants administrator.
This is the second phase of expanding the city’s largest parkland, a portion of what is known as the Barker Tract, with tentative plans to acquire two other tracts, totaling more than 600 acres. The land is within the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
The city purchased 107 acres of the tract in January 2012 for almost $1.6 million with money from various public and private sources, including $800,000 in bond funds from Hays County in December 2010.
In 1979, the city purchased the first 33 acres of Purgatory Creek Greenspace, previously zoned for multi-family development, with other portions acquired over two decades.
Scott Parker, senior program director for the Trust for Public Land, said the Purgatory Creek area is important to conserve because of the nine endangered and threatened species who live there, including the golden-cheeked warbler and black- capped vireo.
“Now is the time for future growth,” Parker said. “The city can begin to create something as significant as Barton Creek Natural Area.”
Maggie Hutchins, San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance board member, said it’s important for the city to have undeveloped space designated for recreational use so people can interact with and appreciate their natural surroundings.
“We want to share the beauty of the area for future generations,” she said. “I hope people can realize what a gem San Marcos is.”