The Texas Hill Country is one of America’s most treasured landscapes. Its iconic vistas of rolling hills, spring fed rivers and streams, historic towns and ranches, and abundant wildflowers and wildlife have made it beloved to generations of residents and visitors from across Texas and around the world. Its groundwater resources are mined at a rate that cannot be replaced, its ranches and farms are being fragmented by land speculation and subdivisions, and suburban sprawl is spreading out from the fast-growing Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas to consume vast amounts of open country. If this continues, the region’s natural, scenic, and water resources could, within a matter of years, be permanently lost to future generations. If this were to happen, it would jeopardize the prosperity not only of the Hill Country itself, but of Austin-San Antonio corridor, which depends on the region for its water supplies and amenities, an important part of the quality of life that attracts people to these places.
However, another future is possible, one in which a new partnership and a shared destiny is established between the Hill Country and the Austin-San Antonio corridor, in effect redefining the Hill Country as a “Greater Hill Country” that encompasses both the corridor counties and the 13 rural counties to the west. Through this partnership, a small part of the growing economic resources of the urban corridor would be used to finance a bold program of land conservation, stewardship, and resource protection in the Hill Country. This report proposes multiple ways of regional cooperation, including Hill Country Endowment, to protect the resources and the cherished Hill Country