Blanco Update - Thank You

Thank you so much to everyone that contacted the city and SMGA regarding our request for large rocks. We continue to meet with the city to protect this beautiful area, and we couldn't do it without your help.

Read previous article.

Spring Lake Hike - February 27

In Search of Another Wonder Spring Lake Hike
February 27, 9:00 - 11:30 am

Join SMGA for the first guided hike of 2010. We will hike to the base of the dam and back and make some geologic and hydrologic observations along the way.

We will meet at the Texas Rivers Center (TRC) parking lot and walk in from there. The TRC is the home of the River Systems Institute and is located in the old hotel of the Aquarena Springs resort, now called Aquarena Center. The entrance is located where Aquarena Springs Drive meets the railroad tracks in San Marcos.

As always sturdy closed shoes are good idea. We recommend wearing long pants and bringing your own water for the hike. We will provide bug spray. Email if you have any questions. If we must cancel the hike due to weather, we will post it here, in the Loop, the evening before the hike.

SMGA Volunteer Opportunity

SMGA volunteers do more than trail work: We have a variety of volunteer opportunities. Each month we will highlight an opportunity, but feel free to check the volunteer site often to see if anything interests you. This month we're featuring a Walk-for-a-Day trail liaison/monitor volunteer opportunity. Read below and click the link for more information.

Walk-for-a-Day Trail Liaison/Monitor 
Description: Collect information and stay up to date on the Walk-for-a-Day Trail project in Austin. Attend occasional meetings and provide updates to SMGA board members. Volunteer will work closely with the SMGA board and committees. Read more.

SMGA in the Activity Guide

SMGA is thrilled, again, to have a full-page spread in the 2010 Spring/Summer San Marcos Parks & Recreation Activity Guide. Pick up a copy at many places around town or view it online. Be sure to share it with your friends and neighbors.

Some of our upcoming hikes are listed in the Guide. Soon you will be able to register to attend a hike using RecConnect, the city's online sign-up tool. Of course you are always welcome to hike with us without pre-registering.

SMRF: Annual Meeting

February 13 is the San Marcos River Foundation's annual party and meeting, where a dinner buffet brings out a crowd, and SMRF gives awards, elects board members, and hosts a great silent auction. Dinner at 6 pm; meeting at 7:15 pm. No ticket required. For more information or to find out about (or donate) silent auction items, contact Dianne Wassenich, at

Nature Center: Valentine Floral Arrangements

Valentine floral arrangements are available for sale at the San Marcos Nature Center.  Pick up or delivery on February 12-13. Order forms available at the Activity Center, the San Marcos Nature Center, and online through the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation website.

Wrapped Carnation:  $1.00
Wrapped Rose:  $2.00
Carnation Sweetheart Bud Vase:  $12.00
Rose Sweetheart Bud Vase:  $15.00
Cupid Bouquet:  $22.00
Ultimate Cupid Bouquet:  $30

All proceeds benefit the San Marcos Nature Center. Call Julie at 393-8448 for more information.

Where On The Trail & Recent Rains

The graffiti says, "Where's the beef?"  and many of our trails cover ground once roamed by cattle or goats.  The reclamation process is on-going as volunteers try to increase rainwater capture by thinning the ashe juniper and prickly pear cactus and encouraging native grasses to grow.

New blue blazes mark the single-track trail past this rusted ranch cattle feeder at Prospect Park.

Elsewhere in Prospect, recent rains left the sign proclaiming (correctly) "Wetlands".  After many months of drought the importance of maintaining greenspaces around the city for water reclamation is highlighted best at this Lower Purgatory greenspace.  Karst openings allow rainwater to funnel underground into aquifers that provide groundwater and, in some cases, springs that feed Hill Country rivers.  Preservation of these important geological features is critical to the future of the community. (1.18.2010)

Wanted: A Really Big Rock

SMGA is looking for a very large rock, approximately 8 ft x 3 ft x 2 ft, or a couple smaller ones, to block vehicle traffic at Blanco Shoals natural area. The City will arrange pickup and delivery. There has been increased vehicular activity in the park that's causing damage. This beautiful natural area is an undeveloped riparian area containing high bank bluffs and shoals, tall cottonwoods and sycamores, gigantic pecans, and mesquite and anaqua trees that cling to the riverbanks. We'd like to protect this area and stop this vehicular activity before it gets worse.

If you have a spare 8 foot rock laying around, contact Melani Howard with Parks & Rec at or 393-8400.

If you see suspicious behavior, do not approach. Contact the appropriate authorities. For emergencies or if you see suspicious behavior in progress, call 911. Other reference numbers include the park rangers office, 393-8427 and the police non-emergency line, 753-2108.

SMGA will continue to work with the city to stay aprised of the situation and protect this beautiful natural area. If you have any questions, email us at

Visit Our Display at the San Marcos Library

Next time you are in the San Marcos library stop by and view our display in the lobby.  The schedule for upcoming hikes and our mission statement is in the left hand case.  Photos of our great volunteers and greenspace users line the right hand display case.

With the upcoming cold weather you might want to check out books to prepare you for the awesome Spring we're sure to enjoy!  Don't forget to think about that perfect photo and how to capture it for our Naturescapes contest next summer.

Special thanks to board member, Charlie O'Neil and the staff at the San Marcos library for making this happen.  The display will be in place during the month of January 2010.  Ringing in the new year with great ideas for getting outdoors!