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TPWD News Release — May 28, 2009

Okay Given To Add Acreage To Lost Maples State Natural Area

AUSTIN, Texas — Lost Maples State Natural Area, known for its spectacular fall foliage and Hill Country scenery, would expand to just over 2,900 acres as a result of action taken Thursday by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Meeting today in Austin, commissioners authorized the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director to complete the acquisition of 732 acres of the former Rex Kelley Ranch abutting the park’s northwest boundary that contains the entire Can Creek drainage. The confluence of Can Creek with the Sabinal River inside the state natural area is primarily responsible for creating Lost Maples’ dramatic Hill Country topography of canyons, hills and creeks.

The acquisition would add acreage to the current 2,174-acre park named for the bigtooth maples that populate the canyonlands and whose foliage turns brilliant shades of crimson and gold most autumns, drawing thousands of visitors. The new acreage being purchased by TPWD from a willing seller will provide more land for potential hiking trails featuring ridge-top vistas, deep canyons and several perennial springs. The property also includes endangered bird and plant species, including the golden-cheeked warbler.

TPWD natural resource conservation staff told commissioners the state natural area’s popularity and the impact of visitors on the Bandera County site’s natural resources, especially in the fall, warrant expansion of Lost Maples and would create additional recreational opportunities.

Before opening to the public, the newly acquired property would undergo surveying and thorough investigation by natural and cultural resource specialists.