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

The Loop


San Marcos Parks Explorer Goes Live

The San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department has just announced that the San Marcos Parks Explorer application is live and ready to use. It can be accessed here or by using the QR code below.

This GIS-based story map allows the user to visit a natural area and take a tour, stopping at numbered sites and finding a photo and text about that feature. For example, in Lower Purgatory, a visitor can click on Stop 6 and learn about Runoff Oak: “This oak tree and its exposed root system are a great example of the power of water erosion. Look under the bridge to see more evidence of water erosion.” Click on Stop 2 in Sessom Creek, and you’ll read about sediment control berms: “This is an example of the erosion management tools being deployed throughout the park.” The stops include well-known features such as Grandma’s Oak and the Blood Pit, as well as less familiar landmarks such as Lamar Runoff, “an ephemeral stream carved out during heavy periods of rain” in Spring Lake Natural Area. Users can see the stops in street map format, or as they appear on Google Earth.


Lauren Thompson with SMGA on Earth Day

San Marcos Parks Explorer was a joint effort of the Marketing and Outreach team within the Parks and Recreation Department and SMGA intern Lauren Thompson, who provided much of the data and many of the photographs. Separately from the City, Lauren began work on a GIS story map of the natural areas while a student in Dr. Colleen Myles’ Environmental Interpretation class at Texas State last fall. Taking the information her team had collected for the project, Lauren continued working on it in the spring as an SMGA intern. During this time, she also coordinated with the City, which had just begun work on a similar project. The result is this new interactive application.

One important feature of the project is that it is ongoing; new stops and photos can always be added. This is also true of natural areas such as River Recharge Natural Area, which will be included at a later date.

Written by Susan Hanson, editor, The Loop.

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