Puryear Ranch is a 423-acre estate steeped in Texas history. The Puryear family was one of the earliest families to settle in the Central Texas area in the late 1800s. The property has stayed in their family since. Not surprisingly, the area remains rich with Native American artifacts and is home to a vast array of iconic Texas wildlife and essential ecologically sensitive areas.
The Puryear acreage, in combination with the also-protected Shield Ranch at its east boundary, constitutes thousands of acres of protected territory. The conservation of this territory provides immense benefits to us all. The property hosts a tributary of Rocky Creek which flows into Barton Creek and eventually conveys into the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer. This sensitive karst aquifer provides a primary source of water to over 60,000 people in the region. The protection of this land also protects the iconic Barton Springs Pool and preserves the health of both the endangered Austin blind and Barton Springs salamanders whose survival depends on the pool’s clean and plentiful water. Grassland and savannah habitats found throughout the Puryear property provide essential habitat and food for a variety of declining grassland songbirds. Some of the imperiled songbirds found on the grounds include the Northern Bobwhite, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, and Dickcissel.
The ranch is located along the Hamilton Pool Corridor, a rapidly growing area near the Hill Country Galleria, trendy restaurants, and the historic Backyard music venue. Because the City of Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, development pressure is exceptionally high. With the city sprawl encroaching and estate taxes looming, the Puryear family eventually concluded that ownership of the land no longer made financial sense. At that time, they made the difficult decision to sell for development to maximize their interests. The family came within inches of closing on an offer, but they canceled the deal last minute. In the end, their deep historical connection and love for their land prevailed. Gary Puryear then began searching for a way for the ranch to remain viable and consulted neighbors and friends. A conversation about easements piqued Gary’s interest enough for him to seek out the knowledgeable conservation experts at HCC. Together, they explored the Puryear’s options and made decisions favorable for the Puryears and the entire community.
HCC partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Travis County to complete the conservation easement under a unique partnership. Now, with a conservation easement on their property, the Puryear family will confidently keep their beloved estate for themselves and posterity. The family retained the right to build up to five homes on the property, and they will continue to use the land for livestock grazing, wildlife management, hunting, fishing and other recreation.