Proposed ‘Great Springs Project’ Aims to Connect Austin, San Antonio With 100-Mile Hiking Trail: What to Know

by Amy Myers
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Texas has launched a new project that would connect Austin to San Antonio with a 100-mile hiking trail that will also help protect the culture and natural resources of the region. The Great Springs Project (GSP) would specifically connect Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs. Also called the “green corridor,” the trail gives Texans a new way to get outdoors.

Currently, the plan incorporates some existing trails. This includes the Violet Crown Trail and the Dante Trail in San Marcos’ Purgatory Creek Natural Area. However, as a living document, the trail plan will continue to change and adapt depending on expectations and necessities. Other connections will be certain as the project works to secure funding, landowner negotiations and permitting. Alta Planning + Design is helping turn the plan into reality, estimating the completion date to be 2036.

On Facebook, the Project shared its progress on the 100-mile hiking trail.

Sponsors for the Great Spring Project include big names like the REI Co-Op, Yeti, and San Antonio River Authority.

Austin-San Antonio Hiking Trail Connects Texans ‘From the Alamo to the Capitol’

Officials hope that the Austin-San Antonio hiking trail will bring an element of connectivity and unity to the region.

“Community, connectivity, and conservation are at the heart of Great Springs Project,” said executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Carter Smith. “Texas Parks & Wildlife is proud to support this regional vision that honors and protects the rich history, culture, and natural resources of Texas’ famed Hill Country.”

Previously, the U.S. Department of the Interior stated the GSP hiking trail will add an additional 50,000 acres of protected land between the urban areas of Austin and San Antonio.

“As the Central Texas region grows together, Great Springs Project is absolutely the best hope for a permanent, unifying, and essential greenspace that demonstrates our respect for our land, our natural resources, our history, our outdoor spirit, and our commitment to the common good,” former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros said.

The project will likely earn funding from philanthropic donations as well as federal money. However, at this stage, putting a price tag on the effort isn’t dependable. In fact, the current trail plan even omitted any mention of figures.

“There are many variables and details related to feasibility, design, and construction that will need to be determined for individual sections of trail before reasonably reliable figures could be generated,” the trail plan stated.

Meanwhile, as the plan continues to develop, the ultimate goal remains the same. The Great Springs Project will provide safe, equitable, and accessible route for Texans from Austin to San Antonio.

“Nature created Great Springs; Texans are blazing the trail,” said Great Springs Project board member Tim McClure.

Outsider.com