Government Canyon State Natural Area gets another 400 acres (TX)
Today the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, acquired 400 acres of Edwards Aquifer recharge land and conveyed it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as an addition to the Government Canyon State Natural Area in San Antonio. TPL also conveyed a conservation easement to the San Antonio Water System for the purposes of water quality monitoring. This latest 400-acre acquisition, part of the historic Gallagher Ranch, brings the total acreage of Government Canyon State Natural Area to 7,043 acres.
This purchase, the third such acquisition by the Trust for Public Land to protect San Antonio’s sole supply of drinking water, was made possible by a unique public-private partnership among the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and several San Antonio and statewide foundations, corporations and individuals. TPL coordinated the acquisition process, bringing 50% of the funding for the purchase from TPWD and SAWS, and raising the balance from the following foundations, corporations and individuals: the Kronkosky Charitable Trust, the Meadows Foundation, San Antonio Area Foundation, Catto Charitable Foundation and the Amy Shelton McNutt Charitable Trust, Martin Marietta Materials Southwest, Mr. George C. “Tim” Hixon.
“The philanthropic community of San Antonio has once again stepped up to make a difference, and we are very appreciative of that. The Trust for Public Land is proud to have joined forces with these organizations to help protect the Edwards Aquifer recharge lands,” said Valarie Bristol, director of the Texas State Office of the Trust for Public Land. “We have been working with the San Antonio community on this partnership since the creation of Government Canyon in 1993, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to help protect the aquifer for the people of the city,” Bristol said.
The Government Canyon State Natural Area will be owned and managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, with the San Antonio Water System monitoring the water quality from the site. Nature viewing, pleasure walking, hiking, rock climbing, caving, bicycling, horseback riding, picnicking, and camping will be common activities throughout the park. The entire Government Canyon State Natural Area, including the latest 400-acre acquisition, will provide important wildlife habitat for outstanding examples of animal and plant communities including the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo, oak-juniper savannahs and woodlands, black land prairie, live oak and cedar elm. The latest acquisition will provide additional access to the property, especially for physically challenged visitors as well as for search and rescue efforts when necessary. Once completely assembled, the entire Government Canyon State Natural Area–at 7,043 acres–will be one of the largest urban parks in the nation.
“Government Canyon State Natural Area continues to be the model for partnership land conservation,” said Mike Herring, director of the Land Conservation Program for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “TPL has been the catalyst for the creation of Government Canyon, and TPWD is very appreciative of the Trust’s unique ability to facilitate these types of conservation efforts for the state of Texas.”
The Trust for Public Land has been actively working to protect the Edwards Aquifer in San Antonio since 1993, when TPL bought the first 4,717 acres that created the Government Canyon State Natural Area. This acquisition represented the first major step in protecting land over the Edwards Aquifer, and was the beginning of what has been the most unique partnership effort in the history of San Antonio. In 1999, TPL in another partnership effort among SAWS, TPWD, and several San Antonio and statewide foundations, TPL acquired an additional 805 acres and donated it to TPWD as an addition to Government Canyon. With the purchase of the 400-acre Gallagher Ranch property, TPL continues its commitment to the city of San Antonio to help protect the Edwards Aquifer for future generations. “Part of the San Antonio Water System’s mission is to protect the Edwards Aquifer. Our work on the Government Canyon Program, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and the several private funders that have supported this latest acquisition, has helped us achieve this mission,” said Jason Corzine, planner for the San Antonio Water System’s sensitive land acquisitions program.
Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. TPL offers real estate, finance, and legal expertise to community groups, government agencies, and landowners seeking to conserve critical open space resources. TPL works nationwide to acquire and protect land for use as parks, gardens, recreation areas, wilderness and historic and cultural sites. In its 27 year history, TPL has added more than 1,180,000 acres of land valued at more than $1.78 billion to our nation’s common wealth of public open space. In Texas TPL has protected over 18,000 acres, including additions to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge near Houston, the Great Trinity River Park in Dallas, and the Barton Creek Wilderness Park in Austin. The Texas State Office forms part of the Trust for Public Land’s southwest region, which also includes New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Oklahoma. For more information about the Trust for Public Land, please visit our website at www.tpl.org.