You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

New owner of Avery Ranch Cave plans to continue educational mission


Avery Ranch Cave turned out to be a great spot for one of Mother Nature’s classrooms.

Some years ago, the Texas Cave Conservancy installed a secure entrance to the cave off Avery Ranch Boulevard in far Northwest Austin, north of the Travis-Williamson county line. A set of stairs, lighting and a deck allow visitors to see the one-room cave, filled with caramel-colored formations like stalactites and stalagmites.

“If you had to set up a cave to be used for educational purposes, the way Avery Ranch is set up is perfect. It’s a great setup for that type of program,” said John Brooks, president of the Texas Cave Management Association.

On Friday, the Texas Cave Management Association finalized a deal to buy Avery Ranch Cave for $25,000 from the conservancy, which periodically allowed public access to the cave for educational events. Brooks said his organization plans to continue using the cave for educational and community outreach programs, with a focus on helping people understand the importance of protecting caves and the role such karst formations play in channeling area’s groundwater.

“The Texas Cave Conservancy did a fine job of protecting and preserving the cave and using it as an educational resource,” Brooks said. “We intend to continue using the cave in a very similar manner.”

The cave — a single chamber about 30 to 40 feet long, with a maximum ceiling height of 18 feet — was in pristine condition when crews discovered it in 2001 while excavating a sewer line. The Texas Cave Conservancy worked with landowners, state regulators and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the area; among other things, a gated entrance and fencing around the property were installed to keep out unauthorized explorers.

The conservancy used to hold “Cave Day” tours at Avery Ranch, an event the new owners are looking into continuing, Brooks said. He noted the Texas Cave Management Association holds a similar Cave Day tour every 18 months at the Robber Baron Cave it owns in San Antonio.

The association is also exploring a partnership with schools to create educational programs for students, he said.

The Texas Cave Management Association, the state’s oldest nonprofit cave conservancy, owns nine cave preserves across Central and Southwest Texas, including Robber Baron Cave in San Antonio, Ezell’s Cave in San Marcos and the Deep and Punkin Caves Preserve in Edwards County.

“We buy caves to conserve them for a multitude of reasons. One of them is exploration; another is scientific, so we have several caves we protect for endangered species,” Brooks said. “Then we have several caves open for recreational caving or for exploration activities. (Avery Ranch Cave) fits a unique aspect of our mission, which is education.”

The association is one of 34 land trusts in Texas directly involved in protecting land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical or productive value.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Panera Bread to hire 10,000 as it expands delivery locations
Panera Bread to hire 10,000 as it expands delivery locations

Panera Bread Co. will hire 10,000 new employees by the end of 2017 as it expands its delivery service, the company said in a statement Monday. According to Panera, the company is planning to expand delivery options to 35 to 40 percent of its locations. It now delivers at 15 percent of its locations. Panera president Blaine Hurst says each café...
Kelly Jones will take the stand today at child custody trial
Kelly Jones will take the stand today at child custody trial

Alex Jones’ ex-wife, Kelly Jones, is expected to testify at her child custody trial at the Travis County Courthouse Tuesday. She will not be the first witness of the day. First up is a therapist in the case. And it’s not clear whether Kelly Jones will first appear as a witness for her own case or as an adversarial witness called by lawyers...
New campaign will focus on the right time to turn car seats around
New campaign will focus on the right time to turn car seats around

Most parents turn their child’s car seat facing forward too early, according to a new study by baby brand Chicco. The study shows that 72 percent of parents say they are uncomfortable talking to other parents about keeping their children riding in a rear-facing position, USA Today reported. >> Read more trending news The ...
Lawmakers to consider bills to scale back STAAR requirements Tuesday
Lawmakers to consider bills to scale back STAAR requirements Tuesday

The Senate could consider a bill on Tuesday that would continue a policy that allows high school students to graduate even if they fail state standardized tests. Senate Bill 463 filed by State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would allow school officials to continue using individual graduation committees for high school students who fail up to two State...
FORECAST: Warm, sunny Tuesday, but heat means growing fire danger for Hill Country
FORECAST: Warm, sunny Tuesday, but heat means growing fire danger for Hill Country

Tuesday forecast for Austin: Soaring temperatures and dropping humidity will lead to growing wildfire danger across the Hill Country this week, the National Weather Service warned Tuesday. However, unlike in recent years, rains throughout the winter and spring across the state mean trees and grasses will burn far less easily than during the drought...
More Stories