50,000 acres of additional protected lands and a 100-mile network of multi-use nature trails compose the vision of the Great Springs Project for South Texas.
South Texas is on the brink of becoming a lot more navigable. With the recent support initiative offered by the National Park Service, the Great Springs Project is another step closer to connecting four of Texas’ Great Springs, including: Barton Springs, Comal Springs, San Antonio Springs, and San Marcos Springs.
Created back in 2018, the Great Springs Project seeks to create a green corridor of protected lands above the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones, connecting Austin and San Antonio, while roping in San Marcos and Comal along the way.
“When completed, the project will result in the protection of natural resources for both aquatic and non-aquatic endangered species, water quality protection for the over two million people in the corridor who rely on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking water, an economic development catalyst for the cities and counties along the proposed trail routes, and access to nature and health benefits for the projected population of nine million people living in and between Austin and San Antonio,” the National Park Service wrote in a recent New Release.
Still reportedly in its design stages, the project hasn’t yet specified exact coordinates for the network of hike-and-bike trails between the four spring areas. That said, its Chief Development Officer, Emma Lindrose-Siegel told Austin Chronicle that plans are to weave in existing trails and communities.
In order to see the project out to its completion, Great Springs will still need to procure additional funding, as well as successfully attain legal conservation easements – rewarding private landowners with tax cuts in return for developing rights on their land.
The project hopes to have completed its planning stages by the end of 2021. If all of the requirements are met, the project could be completed in 15 years.