2012  ·  Land Conservation, Stewardship, Species and Habitat

Hays County Parks, Open Space, and Natural Areas Master Plan

Design Workshop, Hays County

The Hays County Parks, Open Space and Natural Areas Master Plan will be used by Hays County, Texas to make decisions regarding parks and open space programs and facilities. It lays the groundwork for the County’s involvement in providing park, open space and natural areas for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

The Hays County Parks, Open Space and Natural Areas Master Plan was formed from the results of a multi-faceted process that included a current inventory, needs assessment and several community polls and meetings. Based on the findings of this phased process, a set of recommendations for the County’s parks and open space system as a whole as well as for each of the County’s six parks that make up that system was completed. What follows is a brief summary of that process, assessment results and recommended priority projects.

As Hays County continues to grow, its 4,300+ acres of parks and open space will not be able to handle the increased usage without destroying the County’s celebrated natural features. The County’s goal was to develop a focused plan that outlines how to preserve its existing holdings and expand its parks and open space acreage to meet growing demand and enable all residents to enjoy County parks and open space.

The goals of the Hays County Parks, Open Space and Natural Areas Master Plan are to:

  • Provide regional park and open space lands for an assortment of recreational experiences suited to a variety of users in the County. These shall include large, multi-purpose facilities that may connect to community features through trails, greenways and other parks.
  • Utilize the County park and open space system to conserve land that has environmental value including habitat, watershed health, heritage and scenic qualities, while providing appropriate recreation opportunities for the public.
  • Create a financially balanced and economically viable parks and open space system.

Hays County controls six parks and open space areas. These include Five Mile Dam
Sports Complex (encompassing Dudley Johnson Park, Randall Vetter Park and the Soccer Complex), Jacob’s Well Natural Area, and the Regional Hike and Bike Trail near Wimberley. Recently, the County partnered in a conservation easement over the Dahlstrom Ranch. The conservation easement did not include a right of public access on the Dahlstrom Ranch. The County and the Dahlstroms have agreed to negotiate a lease to allow for public access on the property.