Northwest Austin Edition | May 2021

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documents, the city will spend up to $3.51 million— funded through bond funds and parkland dedica- tion developer fees—to purchase the land from the T.E. and Juanita H. Hough Living Trust. The city plans to use this property, combined with an adjacent 11-acre plot of land currently under emi- nent domain proceedings, to build nature trails with creek access. These trails will help connect the exist- ing trail systems between the 47-acre Bull Creek District Park and the 80-acre St. Edward’s Park to create one continuous Bull Creek greenbelt that runs through some of the unblemished nature preserves left in Northwest Austin’s pocket of Hill Country. Though substantial delivery of these trails is years o, local parks advocates say this 7-mile stretch of trail network will add much needed access to green space for Austin residents. “The pandemic has really highlighted peoples’ needs for safe outdoor spaces for recreation,” said Rachel McGill, president of the Bull Creek Founda- tion. “One of the jewels of the parks system is the Barton Creek Greenbelt, but it’s so heavily used. [The Bull Creek Greenbelt] would be a secondary jewel in the trail system for the city.” Access to nature Council voted March 22 to acquire the new park- land property. Scott said the city has long made it known it was interested in the land under the understanding it would be developed into parkland. Recently, the matriarch of the Hough family prop- erty passed away and the family trust reached out to sell the land to the city. The property is located about a half-mile north of Loop 360 o Spicewood Springs Road. Scott said the land features accessible blus that could one day provide a scenic overlook out across the rolling hills of Northwest Austin. “Seeps and springs—the property is littered with them. They’re all over. Everywhere you look there is a spring popping up. Wildlife just ourishes to that” Scott said. About 1,900 linear square feet of Bull Creek run through the Hough trust property and an 11-acre plot of land currently under eminent domain pro- ceedings, formerly known as the Spicewood Lodge property. That land is located directly northwest and neighbors the Hough trust property. The two properties also directly neighbor the Balcones Canyonland Preserve, an urban nature and wildlife preserve that covers about 50 square miles of land across western Travis County. The BCP encompasses swaths of forested hills, dotted from Volente to Bee Cave to Emma Long Metropolitan Park, and was established in 1996 to protect the nat- ural habitats of eight local endangered species. McGill with the Bull Creek Foundation stated that direct contact with a nature preserve comes with a responsibility to be extra vigilant as stewards of the environment. On the eastern side of Spicewood Springs Road across from the Hough trust prop- erty, a plot of land called the Stenis Tract serves as a water quality site, according to McGill. The Stenis Tract is so environmentally sensitive that dogs are not allowed on the property, leashed or unleashed. COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Closing the g a p s The city of Austin is engaged in negotiations to acquire two plots of land along Bull Creek in Northwest Austin to develop into parkland. These parcels of parkland would be the last two substantial chunks of land needed to connect more than 6 miles of trails on the upper and lower Bull Creek greenbelts, according to city ocials.

SOURCES: ALLTRAILS, CITY OF AUSTINCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SPICEWOOD MESA

MAP KEY

POTENTIAL SCENIC OVERLOOK SWIMMING AREA PARKING

NORTHWEST AUSTIN

BALCONES CANYONLAND PRESERVE APPROXIMATE BOUNDARIES

FUTURE CONTINUOUS BULL CREEK GREENBELT

1

ST. EDWARD’S PARK

1 UPPER BULL CREEK GREENBELT TRAIL ST. EDWARD'S GREENBELT TRAIL 2 FUTURE NATURE TRAIL 3 STENIS TRACT TRAIL 4 BULL CREEK GREENBELT TRAIL 5 LOWER BULL CREEK GREENBELT TRAIL TRAIL DIRECTORY

2

PROPERTIES UNDER NEGOTIATION FOR PARKLAND COMBINED ACREAGE: 21 ACRES

3

4

OLD SPICEWOOD RD.

BULL CREEK GREENBELT

5

WEST BULL CREEK GREENBELT

360

BARROW NATURE PRESERVE

BULL CREEK DISTRICT PARK

2222

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

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