The innovative partnership supporting Wild Basin.

Wild Basin is co-owned and co-managed by Travis County and St. Edward’s University, and is a treasured resource for our entire community.

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve protects 227 acres of beautiful Texas Hill Country native habitat. The preserve hosts multiple rare and vulnerable species, as well as the endangered Golden-cheeked warbler. It is also home to St. Edward’s Wild Basin Creative Research Center, a field research station located just 10 miles from campus.

Wild Basin

About the beautiful Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. 

Did you know that Wild Basin is part of and serves as a gateway to the magnificent and much larger Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP)? The BCP is one of the nation’s largest urban preserves, covering more than 32,000 acres – about 50 square miles. The BCP provides critical habitat for seven endangered species and 27 species of concern found on the preserve.

All of the stewardship work at Wild Basin is conducted in alignment with the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan.

Wild Basin Founders

From left to right, the founders of Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve: Margaret Hessin, Lucille Stegman, Flora (Esther) McCormick, Janet Poage, Flo Macklin, Martha Hudson, and Willa Mae Hardesty.

Austin’s first nature preserve, founded by seven extraordinary women.

Wild Basin was founded by seven visionary women who were members of a 1970s environmental group called Now or Never, which was established to preserve a natural area for science classes and teacher training. When the master plan for West Lake Hills was completed, it became evident that Loop 360 would be built. The Audubon Society noted that the beautiful area north of West Lake Hills, known as the Wild Basin, was worthy of preservation. The insightful members of Now or Never adopted the establishment of Wild Basin Preserve as their bicentennial project. They worked for years to protect this land from urban development. And in 1976, Wild Basin became Austin's first nature preserve.

Ferns in the water

The Creative Research Center staff.

Barbara Dugelby, Ph.D., Director

Darren Proppe, Ph.D., Research Director

Niki Lake - Preserve Manager

Sarah Reyna - Administrative Coordinator