Hill Country Conservancy

Organizational Overview

Hill Country Conservancy
Post Office Box 163125
Austin, 78716

Mission Statement

Hill Country Conservancy marshals public and private resources to preserve the natural areas and scenic vistas, aquifers and springs, rivers and streams, working farms and ranches, and the rural heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country for people to enjoy and cherish for generations to come.

VIOLET CROWN TRAIL: Connecting the Community to Nature

In 2006 the Board of Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) conceived the idea of creating a "walk for a day" to allow unprecedented access to nature through preserved Hill Country land. Once complete, the 30-mile trail will provide a unique recreational experience stretching from Zilker Park south through Sunset Valley to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and continuing further south into the rolling countryside of Hays County.

What's next?
The first 6 miles of the trail officially opened in 2015 and construction began on the next 7 miles late last year, with the goal being for this new segment to open in late 2017. This section includes the trail which will connect the 290 Trailhead to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Veloway. When the first 13 miles of the VCT are finished, HCC will immediately begin work on the final 17 mile segment traversing through otherwise inaccessible Water Quality Protection Lands in a uniquely natural setting.

HCC officially announced that it has expanded its focus area to include six counties within the greater Texas Hill Country region. The expanded area includes Travis, Hays, Llano, Blanco, Burnet, and San Saba counties, an area selected in order to ensure an even greater conservation impact in future years.

Construction on the next 7 miles of trail and expanded work in the new focus area has kicked off as HCC enters the final months of a three-year Capital Campaign - its most ambitious fundraising campaign to date. The campaign goal of $13.125 million includes funds for land conservation and stewardship in the expanded focus area as well as funds for the continued development of the Violet Crown Trail. As of January 1, 2017, HCC has announced that we are only $1 million away from our campaign goal.

Impact Statement

Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) works every day to preserve open space in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region and Colorado River Basin of the Texas Hill Country.

HCC works to conserve the water quality and quantity of the Hill Country rivers and streams and preserve the working farms and ranches. This conservation work has a direct and positive impact on all citizens who depend on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking water and on these farms and ranches for their food source.

HCC staff helps plan and implement statewide land trust conferences that educate land owners and other citizens throughout the Hill Country/Edwards Aquifer Region. Participants at these conferences also include landowners, land trust managers and government officials from Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, Tyler, and San Antonio.

HCC has taken the lead on the Violet Crown Trail, which once completed, will be a more than 30-mile trail system running from Zilker Park in the heart of Austin, all the way into rural areas of Hays County. The trail will be instrumental in providing healthy recreational opportunities to tens of thousands of Texans, helping to ensure better physical and mental health.This natural trail corridor will also help ensure clean air, water and wildlife habitat.

HCC is actively collaborating with decision-makers, other land trusts and trade organizations and public interest groups statewide to create the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Advisory Council, which will create standards for and incentivize private lands preservation agreements.

HCC serves on the advisory council of the Texas Coalition for Conservation, which educates decision-makers statewide regarding the benefits of preserving Texas's natural ecology and recreational resources.

HCC is a member of the Texas Land Trust Council serving citizens across the state.

HCC conducts regular tours for scouts and other youth groups on its open space lands and teaches these young citizens best management practices for habitat restoration.

HCC implements comprehensive ecological restoration programs on its own and in partnerships with landowners and public agencies to ensure clean water and better air quality across the aquifer region.

Needs Statement

Donations to HCC fund the labor that's needed to leverage public funds into successful conservation projects. Our staff of wildlife scientists, conservation professionals, and real estate experts help landowners, elected officials, and regional planners identify land for conservation projects. Then HCC works with these partners to shepherd the projects through to completion. We may not have a huge budget, but we're efficient and we're effective. Over the last decade, HCC has leveraged $600,000 in staff resources into conservation easements with an appraised value of more than $80,000,000!

Please make a tax-deductible gift today to help Hill Country Conservancy protect open space and the Texas Hill Country.

"I look for smart organizations that know how to leverage every dollar, and HCC knows how to do that better than any conservation organization I know."
- Gary Farmer
(President, Heritage Title)
(Chair, Opportunity Austin Economic Development Initiative)
(Hill Country Conservancy, Founding Board of Directors)

Growth brings with it both good and bad. From an environmental standpoint, we felt that this countryside was too beautiful, too pristine to just see go unmanaged. The best way to help shape the future is to help create it. That's why I support and continue to support Hill Country Conservancy."
- Tom Meredith
(Co-founder and the Chairman of the Board of Managers, Meritage Capital)
(Former CEO, MFI Capital) (Former CFO, Dell)
(Hill Country Conservancy Supporter)

"Our property is but one piece of the larger effort by HCC to preserve and protect the beauty and values of open spaces. Our land contributes to the well-being of the Edwards Aquifer, of the wildlife that roams well beyond our property lines, of the agribusiness that is vital to the Texas economy, and of the scenic views all who pass by are able to enjoy. What HCC does to continually preserve more open spaces, and share links to resource management, makes our individual efforts seem worthwhile."
-Denton Ragland
(Landowner and Rancher)

"The Hill Country Conservancy team has built a powerful, and achievable, vision for the strategic preservation of open space. They have accomplished this feat by creating an initiative that is fun and enlightening. The HCC team helped me understand that the rolling hills, bountiful creeks, groves of Cypress and wildlife can be preserved for all to enjoy."
- Matt Curtis
(Founding member of HCC's Emerging Professionals In Conservation (EPIC) group)
(Director of Government Relations, Home Away)
(Former Communications Director, Office of the Mayor, City of Austin)
Monthly Violet Crown Trail Cleanups (first Sunday of every month): https://www.meetup.com/Emerging-Professionals-in-Conservation/
Volunteer opportunities will also be available on Earth Day, National Public Lands Day, and National Trails Day
Amount: $12,000
Sponsored By: Samsung

Samsung will be matching Hill Country Conservancy donations dollar for dollar up to $12,000.