Greenbelt and trail vision

Greenbelt and trail vision
for San Marcos

We envision a network of greenways and trails that connect the places where we live, work, learn and play. Our greenbelt uses land that is often ignored and neglected and takes advantage of existing parks and sidewalks. It offers an inviting and easy way to move throughout our community as a pedestrian or cyclist experiencing our natural landscape and heritage along the way. It helps to protect creeks and rivers, our water supply, and habitat for native plants and animals. It reduces the impact of severe flooding and offers many other health and safety benefits.

Threading natural corridors, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, through our built environment improves the real value of our homes and businesses by adding a look and feel to our city that attracts visitors and keeps its residents. We see healthier people enjoying a healthier economy as San Marcos grows.

Those who came before us will be honored and those who come after us will be grateful if we protect and cherish the landscape that allows us all to live healthier, happier, more prosperous lives.

About SMGA

Who We Are

What We Do


Board Members

Who We Are

The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance is working to protect the quality of life for the people of San Marcos through the creation of interconnected parks and natural areas. Today, in the midst of unprecedented growth throughout Central Texas, SMGA is dedicated to ensuring that along with development, we take care to protect natural areas for ourselves, our children, and our future.

SMGA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), all volunteer organization that survives on the membership dues, donations, grants, perspiration, brains and brawn of people who understand the value of the natural world.

Since 1998 we have been working hard with developers, the City of San Marcos, Hays County, and other local, state, and national entities to secure natural areas, promote stewardship, and provide low impact access. We are not opposed to development; we simply consider natural areas to be part of high quality development patterns, the necessary infrastructure, that can connect people with parks and greenspace for the benefit of all.

All the while we celebrate the greenspaces and encourage others to do so with us or in their own way. We help create access and connect these beautiful, valuable places with trails. If you enjoy the natural world, we would love to have you join us.

What We Do

Conservation: Protect and conserve greenspace by working
with stakeholders.

Stewardship: Maintain the health of greenspaces through
community participation.

Outreach / Education: Promote awareness and understanding of
the value of protecting and connecting greenspace.



  • Advocate for and participate in efforts to expand Purgatory Creek Natural area, with 200 acres added in 2014.

  • Solidified inclusion of greenways master plan in the city’s comprehensive master plan.

  • Interact with local developers to help them understand options for including greenspace set asides in various development projects.

  • Advocated for an update to the San Marcos Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan, conducted in 2008 by Land Design Partners.

  • Worked alongside other Hays County conservation groups to form a PAC and successfully campaign for a $30 million bond on the May 2007 ballot.

  • Led campaign to get voter approval of the first open space proposition in San Marcos history through our spin-off PAC, Yes Prop One. The citizens approved a $2 million bond in 2005 for 250 acres.

  • Advocated and campaigned for the first Hays County parks bond ever on the ballot. The bond passed in 1999 with 69% voter approval.

  • Advocated for and participated in the San Marcos Greenspace Planning Committee composed of city, county, and community representatives to develop the Project Selection Criteria and Checklist, which is now part of the Parks Master Plan.


  • Provide a high level of participation to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and meet quarterly with Parks and Recreation staff.

  • Developed a Trail Rx program that was officially adopted by the Healthy Cities Task Force and renamed Fitscription.

  • Partner with Texas State University each year to plan projects and lead work teams of citizens and students during Bobcat Build.

  • Design and lead volunteers in building and maintaining hiking and mountain biking trails in Ringtail Ridge, Blanco Shoals, Schulle Canyon, Prospect Park, and Lower and Upper Purgatory.

  • Conducted a feasibility analysis and collected data for a greenway / trail corridor between Purgatory Creek Park and the San Marcos River, with a possible connection to Willow Creek. The corridor would serve as a bicycle, pedestrian, and natural connection between established neighborhoods and the San Marcos River and Purgatory Creek, two of the most significant natural features of San Marcos.

  • Consulted on design and layout of accessible trails and other amenities in Schulle Canyon, Prospect Park / Lower Purgatory, and Ringtail Ridge. Assisted in securing grants to fund these projects.

  • Assisted Texas State University departments of geography (GIS-GPS) and biology (wildlife management) with setting up a continuous program of habitat assessment in selected portions of Spring Lake Preserve to observe changes over the coming years.

    Outreach / Education

  • Public relations efforts result in articles that feature SMGA and local trails in several state and local periodicals.

  • Provide presentations on the importance of open space preservation around the city.

  • Sponsor monthly hikes in public and private natural areas in and around San Marcos with hundreds of participants.

  • Assist scouting and campfire organizations in developing projects for rank and merit.

  • Provided trail shaping, safety, and general work guidance and training for leaders and teenagers from the Hays County Juvenile Justice Center, who began regular self-guided workdays in our natural areas.

  • Produce quality trail/visitor maps of San Marcos natural areas.

Board Members, 2015-2016

Mark Taylor, President

Bill Adams, Vice President

Sherwood Bishop, Treasurer

Lance Jones, Secretary

Melissa Nicewarner Daly

Anna Huff

Charlotte Wattigny

Phillip Quast

Paul Murray

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