What Does 520 Acres Mean for the Hill Country?

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Five hundred and twenty acres of idyllic Hill Country land was preserved last week. With help from the Trust for Public Land a 520-acre piece of land (known as Peaceful Springs) has just been added to the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, permanently protecting the land for both wildlife and humans alike.

For those who aren’t aware, the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is located about 45 minutes west of downtown Austin. The primary purpose of the refuge is to protect the nesting habitat of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, but as Austin has continued to sprawl further and further beyond its borders, the 27,500 acre plot of land has started to mean much more. The land also sits above the Edwards Aquifer, which is a source of our drinking water.

With the purchase of Peaceful Springs, the refuge can continue to preserve the quality of our drinking water, as well as protect endangered bird species and monarch butterfly migration patterns. And last but not least, the acquisition of Peaceful Springs (which used to be a private wildlife preserve) permanently protects it from development, helping to discourage sprawl from our growing city.

Peaceful Springs features steep limestone canyons, springs, and streams (according to the Trust for Public Land) and will be open to the public through guided tours until a more formal management plan is developed sometime next year.

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