If you live in or around Austin, Texas then you may have heard of the Violet Crown Trail. Continue reading to learn about the Emerald Crown Trail, and see how its construction could bring another extensive trail system to Texas.
The Violet Crown Trail is a 30-mile trail that starts downtown Austin and travels south to the Ladybird Wildflower Center. A third phase is in its final planning stages and would extend to the Onion Creek Management Unit.
The Emerald Crown Trail has been gaining traction since its inception in 2017, but recently the San Marcos, TX city council voted to officially support it by giving additional staff and other resources the ability to work towards making it a reality.
The Regional Trail Work Group is the collaborative effort of organizations that are now behind this trail. The group consists of:
Hays County • City of Buda • City of Kyle • City of San Marcos • San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance • Texas State University, Department of Geography • Hill Country Conservancy • Guadalupe-Blanco Trust • Meadows Center for Water and the Environment • San Marcos River Foundation • Take-a-Hike San Marcos
According to the Emerald Crown Trail master plan documentation , “It was hoped that the Work Group would be able to develop a broadly supported, feasible vision for the Emerald Crown Trail. The Work Group operates by consensus and has guided community engagement, route planning, and development of this plan since July 2017”.
Why is the Emerald Trail a Good Idea?
Increased green space for the public to use is important for any growing region. It creates opportunities for people to get outside and play, but also this trail would link two vastly growing populations for possible commuting potential.
In the master plan there are five variants to the Emerald Crown Trail route. They focus mostly on traveling from San Marcos along the Blanco River ( through 5-mile damn), but then it starts to break off a bit into Kyle and Buda areas. Ultimately it’s about finding the smartest route from San Marcos to the Violet Crown trailhead.
Looking at the documents laid out in the master plan, I’m pretty stoked about some of the ideas surrounding the Blanco River heading into Kyle via FM 150. Walking by water is fun, but we have to remember central Texas’ landscape can change abruptly, so meandering the rocky terrains will be somewhat of a challenge to carve out, but fun to hike on.
Another trail segment that would be exciting is the Plum Creek to Cool Springs route. This one is personal because it would literally go next to my house. It would go through existing Steeplechase Park in Kyle, TX and follow along Plum Creek south towards FM 150.
Of course anytime you have a project that needs to go through land the worries of private land owners is a major concern. The best way is to work with land owners and ensure the pathways won’t make a huge impact and create efforts to keep areas free of waste and discourage trespassing on said land.
This isn’t an easy task, but after almost two years of planning we’re definitely onto the next step of this trail becoming a reality.