Trail Crew at Work
Dec. 1 was a busy day on the trails. Minos in Upper Purgatory got a lot of attention in repairs. Todd split up the crew into teams to tackle several jobs. Some were repairing eroded trails; others were putting in proactive measures to protect trail integrity by creating safe passage for trail users or a means of moving water off quickly. Team Flora (Paul) was out throwing seed in the shaded areas along new Dante. Jon and Lance were out testing a new Garmin enhancer that should improve our mapping.
December Bird Walk
The most recent bird walk, held on Dec. 3, took place in River Recharge Natural Area. According to leader Stephen Ramirez, “The morning started quietly, but activity eventually picked up and ended with a bang! A rare Black-throated Sparrow was present, seen by a couple of us, and an absolute thrill for me. Cooperative field sparrow and hermit thrush were also a treat.”
In all the group recorded 27 species, including a dabbling duck, ladder-backed woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglet, spotted towhee, and pine warbler.
Students Planning for Conservation
For their final project this semester, students in SMGA member Jason Julian’s Geography 4326 class, “Parks and Protected Places,” created land-use plans for currently undeveloped properties in Texas. Jason explains, “Given the increasing demand for P&PP in Texas (with a population that is expected to exceed 50 million by 2050, I challenged the students to identify a future park or protected place in Texas using the concepts we learned throughout the course, which included conservation values, nature benefits, wildlife management, land stewardship, social connectivity, historical preservation, and interpretation. There were no limits/restriction on choice of place. The student was required to visit the place, document conservation potential/values, and talk with the landowner if the place was private. In other cases, the students spoke with city/county/parks officials. Several of the proposed parks have the potential for protection, including a local ranch, San Marcos River riparian areas downstream of I-35, ABK State Natural Area*, and several of the private properties.”
Included in the projects were improvements to Blanco Shoals Natural Area, Crook Park, and a property adjacent to Ringtail Ridge. The students’ proposals were presented in the form of posters exhibited in the Geography Department. At the same time the posters were displayed, each student was required to make a short oral presentation to their professor.
* Albert & Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area, near Pipe Creek
Getting Around Town Electrically
If you’re looking for a ride to help you get from one side of Downtown to the other, Get Around Downtown is now available free of charge. Serviced by 100% electric vehicles, Get Around Downtown is a shuttle service pilot program to help residents get to and from their favorite Downtown location. Hours of operation are generally 7 a.m.-4 a.m. but may vary day-to-day based on demand. Call 512-522-5269 to make sure it’s running when you need a lift. To hop on, simply wave as it nears you or call 512-522-5269 to arrange a ride.
Get Around Downtown
SMGA Members Making Art
Every second Saturday of the month, from March-December and in July/August, you can find our creative artist trail crew members set up at Art Squared. Go visit Norman, Ronnie, and Eric downtown when Art Squared resumes, and check out their work!
SMGA Featured by Great Springs Project
In November, SMGA was featured in GSP’s Trail Tuesday series:
“Today’s #TrailTuesday continues our trail partner spotlight series, where we share the important work our partners are doing to put trail on the ground and how we’re collaborating with them to complete the 100+ mile Great Springs Trail from Austin to San Antonio. This week, we’re featuring the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and their role in planning and constructing the 18-mile Loop & Check Trail System that will encircle the City of San Marcos!
“SMGA is a volunteer-led organization with a mission of protecting the quality of life for the people of San Marcos through the creation of interconnected parks and natural areas. SMGA is the leader in constructing the Loop & Check Trail System, which will provide alternative transportation routes for residents of the City, including students from @txstateu. Future trail construction on the recently conserved 694-acre property in northwest San Marcos will connect to the Loop & Check Trail System south of the property, as well as north of the property via the planned Emerald Crown Trail that will extend to Buda and then connect with the Violet Crown Trail in Austin. Collaborations are a key factor in how GSP works to make successful trail connections, such as these three trails. Thanks to partners like SMGA, the alignment of our first spring-to-spring connection from Barton Springs to San Marcos Springs has been made possible. “Learn more about how GSP collaborates with local trail efforts by reviewing the full Great Springs Trails Plan for the Austin-San Antonio corridor on our website. Happy Trails!”