The beautiful 1,300-acre Bleakley Ranch is located about two miles northwest of Dripping Springs. Preserved in its natural state, the land will continue to filter the rainwater that flows into creeks and underground into the Edwards Aquifer. It is located near the beginning of Barton Creek and plays an important role in keeping that creek healthy and clean. The town of Dripping Springs has grown rapidly in recent years, and conserving land nearby helps offset the effects of development such as water and air pollution, flooding, and the loss of wildlife habitat.
Bleakley Ranch was historically managed as a working cattle ranch and is now used mostly for recreation, with a portion of the ranch dedicated to horse training and riding. The landowners also have been working to improve water quality and wildlife habitat on the property. In 2001, most of the “development rights” were retired through a conservation easement, which ensures the natural character of the land and the rural heritage of Hays County will be here for many generations to come.
In 2008, the Nature Conservancy of Texas transferred the Bleakley Ranch conservation easement to Hill Country Conservancy. This conservation easement adds another 1,300 acres to Hill Country Conservancy’s network of private conservation lands in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region. Collectively, Hill Country Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, the City of Austin, Hays County, and many generous private landowners and funders have conserved over 22,000 acres through conservation easements and another 20,000 acres as preserves. As a result, this region boasts one of the highest concentrations of conserved lands anywhere in Texas, though much still needs to be done to protect water quality for the people and wildlife that rely on clean water at Barton Springs and all across the region.