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Released designs for 100-mile hiking trail connecting San Antonio and Austin

SAN ANTONIO – The Great Springs Project has released a plan for its proposed 100-mile trail that will connect Austin and San Antonio.

Dubbed the “green corridor,” the project would connect Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs.

According to a Great Springs Project trail plan, some parts of the trail are already built, such as the Violet Crown Trail in Austin and the Dante Trail in San Marcos’ Purgatory Creek Natural Area in San Marcos.

However, the trail plan is a living document, meaning it will be regularly updated until the trail’s estimated completion date sometime in 2036. Alta Planning + Design helps design the trail plan.

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Garry Merritt, CEO of the Great Springs Project, calls the trail plan “the blueprint for building the trail from the Alamo to the Capitol.”

Trail map proposed by the Great Springs Project as of April 2022. (Great Springs Project)

A news release from the Great Spring Project notes that in some locations, path alignment has been planned by local communities and in other areas alignment is yet to be determined.

Getting private landowners to agree on public access to their properties, especially along such a large stretch of land, is a massive undertaking and historically difficult.

The project leaders are betting on tax cuts for landowners to advance the project in terms of land security.

Sections of the trail are likely to be built in phases, with the order of the phases dependent on key factors such as funding, negotiations with landowners, establishment of right-of-way, permits, design and construction, organizers of the Great Springs project said in a Facebook post.

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“Community, connectivity and conservation are at the heart of the Great Springs Project,” said Carter Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife. “Texas Parks & Wildlife is proud to support this regional vision that honors and protects the rich history, culture and natural resources of Texas’ famous Hill Country.”

A previous US Department of the Interior news release stated that the goal of the Great Springs project is to add an additional 50,000 acres of protected land over the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contribution zone between the densely populated metropolitan areas of Austin and San Antonio.

“As the central Texas region grows together, the Great Springs Project is absolutely the best hope for an enduring, unifying and essential green space that demonstrates our respect for our country, our natural resources, our history, our outdoor spirit and our commitment to the common good said former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros.

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As for funding for the project, Great Springs leaders say that in addition to federal money, large philanthropic donations will be required to make the vision a reality.

Ultimately, the Great Springs project hopes to unify existing local efforts while addressing critical water, land, wildlife and public health issues facing the central Texas region, according to the project’s website.

In 2020, the project also surpassed several political milestones with the passage of Prop A and Prop B in Travis County, helping to secure the transformation of Austin’s transportation structure and ensure safe mobility for Texans.

Prop A has also been passed in Hays County, which helps ensure the protection of rivers, streams and springs in the area and provides funding for the creation of new parks, protection of open spaces and preservation of natural areas.

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“Estimating individual total costs for the GSP hiking network is not recommended at this stage of the process. There are many variables and details of feasibility, design and construction that need to be determined for individual sections of the route before reasonably reliable numbers can be generated,” the route map states.

One of the ultimate goals of the Great Springs Project is to develop a trail system that is safe, equitable and accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

“Nature created Great Springs; Texans are leading the way,” said Tim McClure, board member of the Great Springs Project.

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Released designs for 100-mile hiking trail connecting San Antonio and Austin

Source link Released designs for 100-mile hiking trail connecting San Antonio and Austin

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