Pines and Prairies Land Trust currently owns three preserves, protecting over 1000 acres of land in Central Texas.
billig ranch - paige, Tx
Billig Ranch is a 677 acre jewel providing wildlife habitat and land for grazing cattle. It is also potential habitat for the critically endangered Houston toad (Anaxyrus houstonensis). Several ponds are located on the property as well as several barns and a ranch house. Because we are currently working to restore several pastures back to native prairie, the property is open by invitation only and we require a minimum 30-day notice.
Erwin Billig gifted the ranch to PPLT in 2006, designating the land as a wildlife haven. In his honor, PPLT manages the property for sustainable agriculture as well as wildlife habitat. PPLT has just completed two prairie restoration projects on over 100 acres with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the TPWD Landowner Incentive Program. PPLT plans to partner with US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 to restore Houston toad and Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) habitat on an additional 145 acres. Our ultimate goal for Billig Ranch is to use it as an educational property for the community, to show that sustainable agriculture and resource protection go hand in hand.
Colorado River refuge - Bastrop, tx
The 65-acre Colorado River Refuge was gifted to PPLT by the Bastrop County Water Control and Improvement District #2 (BCWCID#2) in 2004. Because of its adjacency, it is often mistaken for the Lost Pines Nature Trails, a 32 acre section of land where the popular kayak takeout exists as well as ample parking and an access gate. PPLT does not own LPNT nor does it control the gate located there, but BCWCID#2 does (512-321-1688).
Several lots along the north arm of the Refuge were bought by PPLT or donated by landowners. The CRR is located in the Tahitian Village Subdivision along Riverside Drive. It is free and open to the public during daylight hours (closing at 8 pm in the summer and 6 pm in the winter). The Refuge meanders along the Colorado River within old-growth riparian habitat as well as through Post Oak Savannah habitats and meadows along the Dragonfly Trail. The CRR is managed by PPLT as a wildlife refuge to protect the important riparian and upland habitat of the Colorado River and we are lucky to also be able to offer free access to the River and over 3 miles of trails, year round. Located at the Cottonwood Kings Trailhead is a native-plant demonstration garden along the All Access Trail. This trail ends at a paved overlook with a wheelchair accessible picnic table looking out above the River.
PPLT hosts nature lessons at the CRR as well as the neighboring Lost Pines Nature Trails. Lessons are free and target children around the 5th grade level. Other lessons and field days are available to groups by special arrangement, typically free. In 2012, PPLT partnered with Live Nature Songs, LLC to provide "The Sounds of the Colorado River Refuge," free to the public at: http://www.livenaturesongs.com/ or simply select "Listen" above.
The CRR wouldn't be what it is today without a dedicated group of tireless volunteers. These folks are neighbors, Master Naturalists (in particular the Lost Pines Master Naturalists), retired teachers, TPWD Game Wardens, Bastrop County Sheriff's Department and other dedicated folks that maintain our trails and safety at the CRR, conduct special projects and lead the nature lessons.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us or the Lost Pines Master Naturalists.
Blog: "Miracle by the River"
Special Note to Tahitian Village Lot Owners
If you own a lot in Tahitian Village that you would like to sell or donate, PPLT is only accepting lots adjacent to or across the road from the Colorado River Refuge. Contact us for more information.
Yegua knobbs preserve - mcdade, tx
PPLT bought Yegua Knobbs Preserve in 2004, from a private landowner that wanted the property to remain as open space. The property is a 302-acre expanse of hills, woods, pastures, rough trails and ponds north of McDade. PPLT received a grant in 2016 from the Trull Foundation to install a restroom, so in late 2016 and early 2017, volunteers with the Lost Pines Master Naturalists and Bridge Maniacs and George Witta, owner of SWS-Loo (who graciously sold us the unit at a huge discount!) installed an Eloo (composting toilet) on the preserve so that we can now offer visitors upgraded facilities.
YKP is potential habitat for the critically endangered Houston toad and contains other unique habitats such as the intriguing geology of the knobs, rare plants and a spring fed bog. PPLT has partnered with USFWS and the US Forest Service to conduct habitat restoration on site, including prescribed burns. PPLT manages the property for wildlife and conducts annual bird censuses during field days that are open to the public. Otherwise, the preserve is typically closed in order to protect the unique ecosystems and its rich cultural resources.
Have a group interested in touring the preserve? Contact us to schedule a private appointment. We require a minimum 30-day notice.