South Llano River State Park

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Rancher holding a lambWalter White Buck, Jr. moved to this area with his family in 1910 when he was 18 years old. They lived in the house that is now park headquarters, and the younger Buck took over the family ranch after his father died.

Learn about an artifact found in the attic of the ranch house: Schepp's Cake Box.

Protecting the land . . .

old car driving beneath pecan treesBuck felt strongly about conserving the land. After his father died, he reduced his 1,000 head of sheep, goats and cattle by nearly half. Eventually, he ran only 125 head of cattle, which he later sold. Caring for the land and not overgrazing his livestock allowed him to survive a five-year drought in the 1950s.

In two of the best years, Buck harvested 75,000 pounds of pecans. He enjoyed caring for the pecan trees, which included both native and cultivated varieties.

. . . for the future

Rancher and small boy holding an animalA bachelor all his life, Buck used to say that this land was his one great love. He donated his whole property to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1977 for wildlife conservation or park purposes. The park opened in 1990.

South Llano River State Park expanded from about 600 acres to 2,600 acres in 2011, when the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area became part of the state park. This backcountry area offers hiking, mountain biking, and primitive camping.