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TPW Commission Okays Pursuit of Government Canyon Land Deal

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Thursday meeting authorized Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith to take all necessary steps to finalize a land purchase that would add roughly 461 acres to the Government Canyon State Natural Area at the northwestern edge of San Antonio.

TPWD staff has been working with the City of San Antonio, The Nature Conservancy and the owner of the MaBe Canyon Ranch that adjoins the northeastern boundary of the 8,623-acre state natural area to acquire the additional acreage in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in a rapidly developing part of the city. Pending an approval vote from the San Antonio City Council, $7 million in Edwards Aquifer Protection Program bonds would be applied toward the $8.8 million purchase price.

Though the contract is still pending, ranch owner Stephen Lowder has agreed to a bargain sale of the property that shares a two-mile common boundary with the state natural area. Other funds for the purchase consist of a $1.59 million endangered species grant from the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, $150,000 in federal Land and Water Conservation funds and a matching $150,000 in donations.

MaBe Canyon Ranch has long been identified as a high priority for acquisition to expand recreational opportunities and to protect land in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, as well as habitat for endangered golden-cheeked warblers and karst invertebrates. The property also includes a limestone ridge that sits at the second highest elevation in Bexar County.

In other action, the commission directed TPWD’s director to take steps needed to purchase 120 acres of the Copeland Ranch adjacent to Palo Pinto Mountains State Park to add to the not-yet-open 3,300-acre state park located in the Cross Timbers region west of Fort Worth.