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Energy & Environment

With proposed 100-mile trail, Austinites will be able to walk the trek to San Antonio

A lifeguard looks out over a pool with a slope of grass on the other side
Michael Minasi
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KUT
Barton Springs is one of four natural springs spread throughout Central Texas that will be connected by a 100-mile trail.

By 2036, Austinites will be able to skip the I-35 southbound traffic headed to San Antonio. Instead, they can walk.

The Great Springs Project, launched in 2018, announced the second phase of its plans to connect the two cities — and places in between — by establishing a 100-mile network of trails. The path will link Austin's Barton Springs, the Comal Springs in New Braunfels, San Marcos Springs and San Antonio Springs.

On Monday, the project released a map visualizing what the trail could look like, though it's subject to change.

Map of the Great Springs Project
Great Springs Project
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Map of the Great Springs Project, a trail connecting Austin to San Antonio.

The project's website notes that the trail is an opportunity to conserve land over the Edwards Aquifer and the waters that run through it.

"As one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S., those opportunities will become fewer and further between as residential and commercial development fills the open spaces between Austin and San Antonio," the site states.

Emma Lindrose-Siegel, the project's chief development officer, told Texas Public Radio that a project this large in a state with lots of privately owned land comes with challenges.

“The tremendous amount of infrastructure investment and funding that it’s going to take in capacity to make a project of this magnitude come together is significant,” Lindrose-Siegel said.

It will take partnerships and funding at the local, state and federal levels, along with private investments, to get the trail done by 2036. Part of the trail already exists, including the Violet Crown Trail in Austin, which follows Barton Creek from Zilker to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

In a press release, Great Springs Project CEO Garry Merritt called the trails plan “the blue print for building the trail from the Alamo to the Capitol.”

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