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Tonight, I attended a public meeting for El Rancho Cima, the former Boy Scout camp on the Devil's Backbone between San Marcos, Wimberley, and Canyon Lake. There is a very promising opportunity for Hays County to purchase a 500+ acre tract of the property for a public park with access to the Blanco River. Other than the riverfront, which would be open to public swimming (by reservation only), the other 500+ acres would be set aside for conservancy habit for Golden Cheeked Warblers with limited trail access on the existing Boy Scout trails during non-mating season. Unfortunately, everyone I spoke with at the meeting, including the woman who presented the master plan for the property, were less than open to the idea of allowing single track to be built in the park.

I'm not going to preach to the choir here about the benefits vs. impact of allowing singletrack on public park land. As I was making my case in that crowd, I started to realize that I was sounding like a crazy crackpot spewing rebuttals to arguments that hadn't yet been made yet, and I didn't even have the fact to support my side. What I need is help from the MTB community who have taken up this fight already here in Central Texas. I've never been one to stand or organize a fight for something like this and really don't know how to accomplish it, but it is something I'd like to try. 

I plan to contact the County Commissioner who is leading the charge for this park. I didn't have a chance to talk to him directly, but the story he told to open the meeting was about driving by the property with his 10 year old daughter on the way to New Mexico for a ski trip. Family, outdoor recreation is obviously dear to his heart, so focus will be on how mountain biking can offer healthy, family-oriented outdoor activities. I need to back it up with facts about 1.) Success stories of communities who have grown stronger due to mountain biking. 2.) Studies supporting the idea that trails can coexist with wildlife, especially the GCW. 3.) Examples of how ARR and other groups have worked with other local parks like Pace Bend or Pedernales Falls.

I know there is plenty of fodder on here and MoJo about all this. Can y'all help me remember where the best published articles and studies are? How else can I drum up support? Right now, it seems we are on the outside looking in to a chance at an incredibly beautiful piece of park land with some gnarly terrain. 

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Just saw a story on KVUE about this. 533 acres. The story, and the interviewees, said "preserve" about 20 times total. I think this would be like getting bike trail built around Hamilton Pool. "Limited access" was also mentioned a couple of times.

Chose your battles wisely?

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Hell yeah. Way to go man. Of course our ARR (get it?) forefathers would have the deets on stuff like this. I would also suggest Lakeway as an example of sustainable access. Maybe endorsement letters from their council members could help.  Studies about Warblers at Fort Hood and tank traffic being compatible. Letters from LCRA about positive impacts from mountain bikers at various facilities. Even info from cough cough IMBA. Petition of potential riders/volunteers. Hays should know already about the successes/values of Purgatory and similar areas. Existing trails with mods may be the way to go even. I think it's more about what the county wants to do than the talking heads but I can't say that for sure. Reserved swimming says to me they are already making up their minds possibly. 

On the other side of the coin, if Spider Mtn folks acquired the land we could see another chairlift possibly and real access to the hill and the river. Heck campsites on that hill would be sweet.

Bottom line, talk to Chardog and Leif. Public entities can be very frustrating to work with and take forever also so be patient. I'm sure many of us would write letters if it would help out.

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I camped there as a Cub Scout in a Sam Houston Council troop, and I'll usually take a gander across the landscape there whenever I'm traveling the Devil's Backbone on the way to Madrone trail at Canyon Lake.

That place could offer some wonderful trail opportunities.

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Deception is an example of mtbers putting in trail and now a lot of trail users out there.

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I've camped out there, swam, and mountain biked. It is a real treasure.  I haven't seen it since the devastating flood on the Blanco in 2015.  Does the 533 acres represent the entire Ranch Cima property?  It seemed bigger.  

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49 minutes ago, hurronnicane said:

I've camped out there, swam, and mountain biked. It is a real treasure.  I haven't seen it since the devastating flood on the Blanco in 2015.  Does the 533 acres represent the entire Ranch Cima property?  It seemed bigger.  

This is a pretty good article that answers a few questions.

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10 hours ago, hurronnicane said:

I've camped out there, swam, and mountain biked. It is a real treasure.  I haven't seen it since the devastating flood on the Blanco in 2015.  Does the 533 acres represent the entire Ranch Cima property?  It seemed bigger.  

The whole ranch is about 2500 acres. They were trying at first to sell it all ($20-$25M IIRC), but now it is subdivided into 5 tracts. It sounded like other counties, nature conservancy groups, and the CapTX Boy Scouts were all trying to make a play for the other tracts. The tract that Hays County is trying to get has about a mile of riverfront. 

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17 hours ago, Hugh said:

Deception is an example of mtbers putting in trail and now a lot of trail users out there.

Preserve advocates don't want a lot of trail users out there tho. Like maybe none. Hopefully Hays if they buy it can find a balance, and notyal becomes Trail King.

Edited by Bamwa

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Someone mentioned Hobbs State Park in a thread about Bentonville, so I Googled it and clicked on a link that brought me to arkansasstatepark.com, where I saw one of the best marketing videos on trail building for the community that I've seen. As I watched it I thought of this thread.

https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/trails

Edited by RidingAgain

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