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Hays County, Nature Conservancy buying part of iconic ranch

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 by Jo Clifton

On Friday, Hays County, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, is scheduled to purchase 530 acres of the former Boy Scout ranch known as El Rancho Cima. The $13 million acquisition will be partially funded through use of Hays County bond money designated to protect the land and habitat of an area 18 miles west of San Marcos along the Devil’s Backbone. Laura Huffman, regional director of the Nature Conservancy, said in a news release, “In partnering with Hays County to protect this property, we have a rare opportunity to simultaneously safeguard this iconic piece of our state’s history and culture while meeting conservation goals and increasing the possibility of public access to nature in the fast-changing Texas Hill Country.” Huffman said much of the credit for the agreement goes to Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell, who led the effort on the Commissioners Court. Huffman concluded, “Collaborative land conservation deals like this are the only way to protect the nature we have left in a way that benefits both people and the environment.” Shell said, “Hays County appreciates once again collaborating with the Nature Conservancy in Texas to help safeguard our natural lands, which are quickly disappearing in our fast-growing county.” He noted that a previous collaboration with the conservancy resulted in the creation of Jacob’s Well Natural Area.


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