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Family offered millions for their 1500-acre ranch. They rejected money to build a park there instead.

Rather than encouraging real-estate development that offered millions of dollars, the family chose to preserve the ranch's resources.

Family offered millions for their 1500-acre ranch. They rejected money to build a park there instead.
Cover Image Source: X | @nature_tx

In a world that's focused on actively urbanizing and building smart cities, it's refreshing to know that some people are big on preserving nature and its incredible resources. A Texas-based family is inspiring everyone with their decision to reject a $130 million offer from real-estate developers so that they could make their family's RGK ranch into a public park that spreads across more than 1500 acres, as per Texas Monthly. What was formerly a cattle ranch in Travis Country will soon become a nature conservancy that will welcome hikers, mountain bikers and adventure seekers.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | David McBee
Representative Image Source: Pexels | David McBee

In the early 1970s, a part of the RGK ranch was bought by George and Ronya Kozmetsky who then purchased more lands around their property which has currently extended to nearly 1600 acres. Now, the Kozmetskys would retain around 90 acres of what their grandparents have owned, including a house and a lake and sell the remaining lands to Travis County for $90 million. This selling price was far less than what the real-estate developers had offered the family to build more than 1400 houses and 150 acres of commercial development. Jordan Scott, son of Kozmetskys’ daughter Nadya Scott, told the media channel that preserving the ranch and making it into one of Travis County's nature parks was his mother's desire.  



 

Despite growing up in California, Jordan spent his summers in the wilderness of his family's ranch and wishes other children could experience the same. "To know those spaces will remain in their natural condition, and other people will have their own experiences seeing a ringtail cat or watching a 15-point buck walk out, to know what's going to stay with the people of Central Texas is what gives me the goosebumps," Scott told the Austin American-Statesman. Travis County's $90 million purchase wouldn't have been possible without the voters' approval of a $276 million bond for parks and land acquisition. Also, Nadya Scott made a generous donation of $30 million of her stake in the family ranch to support the county's budget for conservation.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andre Tanase
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andre Tanase

Travis County and the Nature Conservancy have been collaborating with the Kozmetskys for over two decades to implement the conservation of the ranch area. RGK ranch would add to the stunning natural resources and hiking trails that surround the Hamilton Pool Preserve and would be an extension of Milton Reimers Ranch Park. "We’re not intending to put a lot of development on the property. This park is going to be developed similar to Reimers Ranch Park—kind of a wilderness park with trails, parking, and a bathroom or two," said Travis County Parks Director, Charles Bergh. 

While everyone initially thought of the RGK ranch as a cattle ranch, in the past 20 years, its rich wildlife habitat and watersheds feeding into Bee Creek and Lake Travis made it a significant nature preserve. The lush green hill terrain and canyons in the ranch are home to foxes, ringtail cats, bobcats and even the highly endangered bird species, golden-cheeked warbler. With the Reimer's Ranch park that offers scenic hiking trails just half a mile away from RGK Ranch, the Travis County officials hope that their latest acquisition would connect both the parks, making it a significant target for nature lovers. 

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