Windemere Update

Most of you already know the ongoing saga related to Windemere, a subdivision proposed directly across the creek from Springlake Preserve and fronting Lime Kiln Road (on the left just after the second crossing of Sink Creek on Lime Kiln Road -or just after the sewer line dig- as you drive out of town). The latest issue involves the developers coming before the city to get a portion of their property annexed and the approval of a service plan that outlines how the development will be connected to city services, including water and sewer. (Read more in this story from Sunday's San Marcos Daily Record.)

Our concern is the likelihood of significant contribution to the non point source pollution flow into Spring Lake from rain water runoff over land and through the aquifer. SMGA strongly believes that the location for this annexation is one of the worst locations for development if we are truly committed to keeping our water running clear and clean in the San Marcos River. Here is the item as it is noted on the agenda for Tuesday night's city council meeting:
18. Public Hearing to receive comments for and against Ordinance 2009-30, annexing to the City an area consisting of 22.5 acres, more or less, T.J. Chambers Survey A-2, located 1 mile northwest of Post Road at Lime Kiln Road; approving a service plan for this area; including procedural provisions; and declaring an emergency.
SMGA supports quality development in San Marcos, but pipes and paving in this most sensitive, flood-prone location is not quality development. If you have thoughts about the annexation you would like to share with your council members (don’t be shy) be sure to reference the item above on the agenda. You can email the mayor and council your thoughts using or, but be sure to include the words “Mayor and Council, Windemere” in the subject and begin the text with “Dear Mayor and Council.”

Purgatory Trail Project Pressures

Tom Wassenich recently toured Wonderworld Drive with the city manager, assistant city manager, and engineers. Progress is certainly coming along. During the tour, a KBR engineer stated that he had already started working on the design of the Hunter Road / Hopkins Street improvements from Wonderworld Drive to Bishop Street and that the crossing at Purgatory Creek would only require a culvert height of 4 feet. This would be a real snag in the Purgatory Creek Trail plans we advocate, which call for a culvert / tunnel to allow free flow of bicycle and pedestrian traffic under Hopkins/Hunter. Todd Derkacz requested reconsideration by the assistant city manager, who in turn asked the engineer Mike Sexton to reevaluate. Mr. Sexton responded saying that they are only in very preliminary work on the project with environmental and archaeological surveys being conducted and suggested there is still time to include such a feature.

Meanwhile Tom, a former Transportation Advisory Board member, contacted our old friend of trails Gregg Griffin with CAMPO, who wrote this with regards the Purgatory trail:
If it's solid, TxDOT should follow AASHTO design guidelines, or provide a reason not to. If the trail plan is conceptual, and/or not funded, TxDOT may rightfully not accommodate the potential use. Purgatory Creek trail is not in the CAMPO Mobility 2030 Regional Bicycle System as a specific bike/ped transportation corridor.
As shown on this map from the pdf at the link above, the off-road bicycle trail (shown in green) DOES appear as an off road facility, so we're not sure about Gregg’s comment and what is considered “solid” or “conceptual.”
(By the way, Gregg helped SMGA formulate the Loop and Check concept a few years ago while finishing up his masters work in geography.)

This matter has developed in the last few days, so more information will be forthcoming. But our voices may be needed to get the trail, at the very least, installed as a solid plan. Stay tuned.

Photo Contest Publicity Opportunity

Looking for an opportunity to let Hays County residents know that your company supports conservation of our local natural areas? Consider becoming a sponsor of our photo contest. Even a modest donation will net you positive local attention on our web site, at our awards ceremony and in advertising for the contest. Do something good for your community and your company.

Have a Used Projector or Printer?

Does anyone have a computer projector or color printer collecting dust that you'd like to donate to a worthy cause? Namely SMGA? If so, let us know at 754-9321 or

In the Last Newsletter You Saw a Fossil...

...and so did Richard Barnett. Richard told us more about the fossil shown in our last Guess Where on the Trail feature, shown below. The fossil in the loose block of limestone in our photograph is the external mold of a Lower Cretaceous bivalve, probably Pecten sp.

Tourist Hosts Learn About Natural Areas

SMGA presented to volunteers who host the Tourist Information Center operated by the Chamber of Commerce in May. Viola Sowell who runs the operation for the chamber sent the snaps below. She noted that it was one of the best attended training luncheons they’ve had in a long time. The hosts were quite interested in knowing where our natural areas are and how to get there, and they are willing to speak up about getting the city to improve way finding around town.

Trail Updates

Thanks to Lance for Helping With Hikes
Thanks to Lance Jones for stepping up to lead the interpretive hike at Spring Lake during Earth Day at Aquarena. Lance did a great job and the master naturalists got advanced training credit.

Is It a Sign?
The photo below shows SGMA volunteers installing a sign in upper Purgatory Creek Greenspace on the heels of a reroute at the beginning of Dante’s Trail. If you've been out there recently, let us know if the reroute is still intact and if the sign is still there. While we were installing the sign, Gabby who lives nearby and runs the trail stopped by to say that she didn’t know Dante’s Trail was actually the trail, so the sign started working even before it was fully installed!

Walk for a Day
Work begins on 34-mile trail to connect Zilker Park and water quality lands near Kyle. Some day will it reach San Marcos? I suppose that depends on us. Here is the Statesman Article in case you missed it: (May 11, 2009)

Bobcat Build Successful

Over 30 people turned out for Bobcat Build on a beautiful April morning. We all made our way to the trash pile left by previous land owners in upper Purgatory Creek Greenspace and began the process of deconstructing the pile. We cut and pulled away the fence along with some vines and a few branches. Analysis was part of the process in that the necessity to separate materials for recycling required a closer look. (It’s a good idea anyway when you know snakes and other critters are a possibility.) It also meant finding the occasional odd piece of history ranging from an old credit card to weird bottles. By the time our work session was over, only a small pile was left to be scooped up with shovels and bagged.

Our thanks goes out to the bobcats and SMGA volunteers who helped and especially those who stayed to the end of a long and productive session. Thanks also to Melani Howard, Jimmy Venable, Kyle Hahn of Green Guy and his driver David for their material support.

Greenprint Update

Below is a summary of Diane Miller's report on the Envision Central Texas greenprint project. Several SMGA members have participated in one way or another in bringing this to fruition.

Update for Hays County Greenprint Stakeholders - April, 2009
Thanks to everyone who attended the Hays County Greenprint Stakeholder meeting on April 1 in Wimberley. During this meeting, attendees reviewed a series of maps illustrating lands in the county that may meet the park and conservation goals established by the stakeholder group last year. After discussing each of the individual goal maps, attendees were asked to decide which goals they felt were most important. Each participant registered their priorities using an electronic keypad device that Trust for Public Land staff used to generate a composite map displayed in real-time at the meeting. The purpose of this composite map is to show areas where overlapping priorities exist, thereby creating an "opportunity map" that the community can use when choosing where to concentrate efforts and resources for park and land conservation. Visit to read a detailed meeting summary, including rankings of the individual goals and next steps. The Hays County Greenprint Stakeholder Group will re-convene in early June to evaluate the refined goal and composite maps and discuss action items to conclude the planning aspects of this initiative. Similar Greenprint planning processes are underway in Bastrop and Caldwell Counties , and their stakeholder groups also met last week to discuss the goals and composite maps for their county. Thank you again for your involvement in creating this important tool for Hays County and we look forward to seeing you in June!

The Central Texas Greenprint for Growth (the "Greenprint") is a tool to help communities identify the best opportunity areas for new parks and land conservation, while also balancing the growth and infrastructure needs of our rapidly urbanizing region. The project includes counties in the Central Texas metropolitan area and expands on the Travis County Greenprint for Growth completed during the fall of 2006. For more, visit the Greenprint website at Once at the website, simply click on "enter as a guest" on the lower left side of the screen to access a variety of documents in the "public links" section, as well as by clicking on the "documents" section on the left side.