Travis County acquires new park land near Hamilton’s Pool

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Travis County has purchased a 770-acre ranch owned by Eugene and Jean Reimers in southwestern Travis County that will connect Milton Reimers Ranch Park and Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve (Hill Country book, page 333).
The purchase completes a park system that includes a sliver of sandy Pedernales riverfront, limestone cliffs and more than 3,000 acres of wooded hills, peppered with trails and caves. The purchase is the third and final piece of the Reimers family property and comes more than 25 years after the county began to purchase Hill Country land from the family, beginning with Hamilton Pool in 1985.

The ranchland has remnants of movie sets, including that from 2003’s “Alamo,” much of which burned in a September fire.  But the long-term benefit to the Hill Country’s water quality — not the property’s natural beauty — is arguably the most important reason for the acquisition. If the ranch had been developed, runoff from construction and typical residential use would probably deposit harmful bacteria and chemicals into neighboring Hamilton Pool. The Reimers family could have easily sold the ranch to developers for a better price than they charged the county. However, the family wanted to keep the land preserved.

Public access to about 80 acres of the new parkland will have to wait about a year, while the county prepares a trail connecting Hamilton Pool to the newly acquired mile and a half of Pedernales riverfront. The Reimers will retain a 40-acre estate and will lease about 650 acres of the property for grazing. The rest of property is scheduled to open up after the Reimerses die and after the county restores the property to its natural state. At that point, park-goers will get to the river from either Milton Reimers Ranch Park or Hamilton Pool park, after paying a day use fee.

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