March 14, 2016
Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is a land trust whose work plays a critical role in connecting the importance of preserving our local environment with the consistent growth and vitality of our local economy - one of the driving forces behind our region’s success. HCC has always been the catalyst of change, bringing warring factions together to accomplish a unified goal of conservation and preservation of our heritage and the beauty of Texas. HCC was founded in 1999 and quickly became the place where the environmental community, neighborhoods, the real estate industry and business could convene to discuss a master plan for preserving the beauty and magic of the lands of Central Texas.
RECA has had an ongoing partnership with HCC since HCC’s creation, with RECA contributing more than $500,000 to HCC over the past 15 years. While real estate and conservation organizations might seem like an unlikely match, it’s partnerships like these that are representative of the belief that the region’s prosperity is inextricably tied to its natural landscape and quality of life. People – and companies – move here, and want to stay here, because it’s a wonderful, beautiful place to be.
RECA's mission is to be an effective resource and advocate for the interests of the real estate industry and to promote and sustain the Greater Austin region. Like HCC, RECA has demonstrated their commitment to achieving a sustainable balance of economic, social and environmental interests, all of which are critically important to the long-term vitality of our community. HCC has fostered strong relationships with other conservation organizations, businesses and landowners to accomplish common goals of conserving the lands, waters, wildlife habitat and heritage of central Texas. HCC is the first organization in Texas to bring together municipalities, counties, USDA/NRCS, landowners and groups like RECA to work collaboratively to execute conservation easements.
More recently, HCC has brought the Violet Crown Trail to the Austin and Central Texas community. The Violet Crown Trail began as a vision in 1999 to create the first regional trail system in Central Texas. After over 15 years of strategic land acquisition and planning, the first six-mile segment is now open and the VCT is on its way to becoming the longest trail of its kind in Central Texas. Once complete, the 30-mile trail will provide a unique recreational experience as it passes through the urban wildlands of the Barton Creek Wilderness Park, the City of Sunset Valley, and eventually into Hays County. Along its route the trail will connect scenic natural areas to neighborhoods, shopping centers, a library and public parks. Passing near the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Violet Crown Trail will head south, winding through the rolling countryside of the City of Austin’s Water Quality Protection Lands in a uniquely natural setting.
The Violet Crown Trail represents the greater vision of HCC’s work to get people out on the land. Users will have the opportunity to experience conservation lands like never before – surrounded by wildlife, clean streams and the breathtaking views of land preserved by HCC and its partners.
Research shows that properties in close proximity to and with access to great outdoor spaces such as the Violet Crown Trail or large tracts of conservation lands have higher property values, creating a win-win for all parties involved. With the efforts of HCC’s board and staff to work with the development and business communities, whether through HCC’s support in open space bond initiatives or its involvement supporting city officials to conserve more open space lands, HCC has created invaluable partnerships with groups like RECA to accomplish preservation.