San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


President’s Message

I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since Chris North got upset about a proposed apartment complex dropping in across the street in her quiet neighborhood. She motivated several folks in the community to join her, and the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance was born. It wasn’t always an easy trail over the years, there were muddy quagmires to get through and slippery hills to climb, but here we are – a growing community organization supporting our natural environment and the health of the citizens.

This last year SMGA designed and built miles of new trails in the natural areas. In the River Recharge Natural Area, an educational kiosk was built, and trail signs were installed. Four new benches have been built and placed in two different natural areas and we worked with a young man to satisfy his Eagle Scout project requirement, which was to install two bat houses, a viewing bench, and an information plaque at Spring Lake NA. He did well.

SMGA formed a committee that reviewed and made comments on the city’s Natural Areas Land Management Plan. This is the long-range planning document to guide the city when making future decisions about the numerous natural areas. We also worked with Texas State University’s civil engineering school. The senior class has a capstone class requirement where they form teams of five students and then address and solve an engineering problem. We gave them three. Two projects were bridges that we would someday like to get built and installed, and the third was the rebuilding of a section of trail that suffers from groundwater seepage crossing the trail and making a muddy mess.

We are also working with other community organizations on projects that cross over into both of our missions. We work with the San Marcos River Foundation on a section of the lower Purgatory Creek in town where we want urban trails. SMGA volunteers are removing invasive exotic vegetation and will soon be laying out a future trail along the creek. We are also in discussion with the folks promoting the Green Alley Initiative. In the future we would like to have the green alleys tie into the trail system.

Our vision of having a loop of natural areas that tie together around San Marcos is almost done.  The new properties recently acquired by Hays County fit into keystone slots west of town, so we now have connectivity from Sink Creek drainage to Purgatory Creek drainage. As the city acquires easements and property along Lower Purgatory Creek, the trails will connect from Lower Purgatory NA to the river. This will also put trails close enough to downtown that the Green Alleys could someday be connected.

This last year SMGA volunteers contributed over 3,592 hours of work. Those were only the hours that got documented; I know there were a lot more. These were hours spent not just in designing and building trails but also in community outreach and education. We have volunteers who attend and help with such Discovery Center events as Snake Fest, plant sales, the Monarch Festival, and more. Volunteers work with the city staff to plant wildflower seeds and trees in the natural areas around town.

If you are an SMGA member and would like to find out more about what kind of volunteer opportunities there are, please go online and submit a form. But most important, enjoy the natural areas.

Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave only stress.

Jon Cradit
President, SMGA

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