Ever wanted to hike from Austin to San Antonio? With a little luck, you’ll be able to in the not-too-distant future.
Great Springs Project, a new nonprofit out of Texas, is working hard to create “a national park-scale corridor of protected lands between the densely urban areas of Austin and San Antonio over the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones.”
This trail—or network of trails—will link together four of Texas’ Great Springs: Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs. The hope is at it will also help protect the Edwards Aquifer, which is a source of drinking water for many of the region’s communities.
“You’ll be able to hike or bike basically from the Alamo to the Capitol,” Deborah Morin, co-founder and board president of the Great Springs Project, told local news station KXAN. “80% of Texans (live) within a three-hour drive of this area. So instead of thinking about driving eight hours to Big Bend, you could come here and immerse yourself in nature.”
Morin says she and her team have been brainstorming this project for more than 20 years, and hope to have it completed by 2036. That goal, however, is blocked by many hurdles—namely financial challenges, and the rapid urbanization occurring in the area.
“It’s expensive. The land in a fast urbanizing area cost a lot of money,” Morin said. “Raising the type of money it takes to pull this off I think is the biggest challenge.”
It’s a tall order, but one that will benefit both people and the environment if it’s completed.
“The goal of the Great Springs Project is to add an 50,000 acres of protected lands over the Edwards Aquifer,” an official press release read (via Travel + Leisure). “When completed, the project will result in the protection of natural resources for both aquatic and non-aquatic endangered species, water quality protection for the over two million people in the corridor who rely on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking water, an economic development catalyst for the cities and counties along the proposed trail routes, and access to nature and health benefits for the projected population of nine million people living in and between Austin and San Antonio.”