Spring Lake Preserve celebration, hike scheduled Aug. 20

By Marc Speir
University News Service
August 16, 2007

Texas State University-San Marcos, Hays County and the City of San Marcos will officially dedicate the 251-acre Spring Lake Preserve in a public coronation and reception at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 20. The celebration will be held at the Texas Rivers Center, an arm of the Aquarena Center located on the campus of the university at 951 Aquarena Springs Drive.

The $5.1 million purchase of the 251 acres, including 16 acres of university property that will serve as gateway to the new greenbelt and park, is part of master plan devised by the city, county and university to add more green space in San Marcos. The acreage is designed as a nature park with hike and bike trails, bird watching and picnic areas.

A hike into the heavily wooded areas is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. and will be led by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance to introduce the community to the new area. Those who wish to participate are asked to dress appropriately, as the growth in the park has increased significantly with the large amounts of rain.

The region contains a wide variety of flowering plants, acts as home to an array of animal life, and provides a significant recharge zone for the Edwards Aquifer, Spring Lake and the San Marcos River.

“This is a part of a larger master plan with the city and county to improve everything with more green space,” said Andy Sansom, executive director of the River Systems Institute at Texas State. “Ultimately, we might see something like the hike and bike trail in Austin.”

University faculty will be working with the National Park Service to construct a plan supporting longevity for the tract and its ecosystem. The Center for Nature and Heritage Tourism will also use the preserve for educational purposes in the areas of environmental education, nature tourism, biology, geography, history, archeology, outdoor recreation and teacher education.

Due to the rustic and expansive areas in the property, access to the park will only be available through guided tours with the Greenbelt Alliance until trails are developed.

To arrange hiking excursions, call the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance at (512) 754-9321.