This year Pines & Prairies joins a network of 44 Affiliates of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We look forward to pursuing joint projects which promote the complementary missions of our organizations and to strengthening our partnerships.
BASTROP – Austin blues diva Carolyn Wonderland will headline a fundraiser Oct. 17 in Bastrop for a local land trust that works to preserve farm and ranch lands, wildlife habitat and other open spaces in Central Texas.
The event is free and open to the public, but a $10 donation per person is suggested. There will be a LIVE AUCTION with Carolyn Wonderland signed guitar and amp, SXSW wrist bands, concert tickets and over 40 auction items total!
Purchase tickets online or at the door.
Proceeds will go the Pines and Prairies Land Trust (PPLT), which holds conservation easements and owns wilderness preserves in Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, Caldwell and Travis counties. PPLT’s properties include the Colorado River Refuge in Bastrop and the Yegua Knobbs Preserve near McDade.
PPLT is one of more than 30 land trusts in Texas that have helped conserve more than 1.6 million acres of farms, ranches, wetlands, wildlife habitat, urban parks, forests, watersheds, coastlines and river corridors in the state. These non-profit land trusts conserve natural areas by negotiating private, voluntary agreements with property owners to leave their land undeveloped.
The Colorado River Refuge is open to the public daily. PPLT also connects landowners with government agencies and private organizations offering technical and financial support for restoring and managing wildlife and other conservation practices.
Our annual Field Day at Yegua Knobbs is just around the corner. The event provides a special chance for the public to come explore Yegua Knobbs Preserve — normally restricted to the public.
The preserve rests on 300 acres of hills, woods, pastures and ponds just north of McDade. In addition to being able to hike and explore the area, attendees at the event will be invited to join the Bastrop County Audubon Society for a bird survey and archaeology survey to help the PPLT create a more thorough log of the area avian population and historic and prehistoric sites.
Yegua Knobbs was purchased by Pines and Prairies Land in 2004 and established as a nature preserve to protect the area’s unique geologic locations, promote air quality improvements, maintain the habitat of the endangered Houston toad and preserve the historic and prehistoric archaeological sites of the area.
The area was the stomping grounds for the Notch Cutters, a notorious gang of outlaws who for generations had lived in the dense thickets and areas surrounding the knobs.
During the civil war, this densely forested land attracted not only men trying to avoid conscription but many outlaws in need of a place to hide. On one side were the “good citizens,” who were attracted to the abundant water of Knobbs Springs; on the other was the increasing number of outlaws hiding in the dense forests. Some of the outlaws had lived in the Knobs for so long that they had become neighbors and friends of the good citizens. In one writer’s words, however, the “depredations” of the younger generation turned the good citizens against all of the outlaws The Knobs community became “the core of a festering sore of violence.” (From "The Killing of Depuy Sheriff Isaac "Bose" Huffington" by David Bragg).
By a lucky coincidence, our Spring Field Day is being held the week following the Bastrop County Bar Association's second reenactment of the 1880s murder trial at Bastrop Opera House during Yesterfest on Saturday evening, April 25 and Sunday afternoon, April 26. The play, “Who Killed William Gamble Griffon, The State of Texas v. Haywood Batey,” is based on the infamous 1883 Christmas Eve lynching and Christmas Day gunfight by members of the McDade Notch Cutters. Proceeds of the shows will go on to benefit the bar association’s scholarship fund.
Come visit the area highlighted by the facts and lore presented by the Bastrop County Bar Association in the 1883 murder trial and help survey for historic sites on the old stomping grounds of the Notch Cutters. Board members and a local archaeologist will be present to answer questions about the Yegua Knobbs, historic and prehistoric sites in the area, birds of the YKP, the land protection efforts by PPLT and more.
Water will be provided as well as a primitive latrine. Suggestions for items to bring: hat, sturdy shoes, binoculars, bird field guide, sack lunch, refillable water bottle, camp chair or stool. No fires or pets are permitted.