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

Florida deputy's co-workers share embarrassing post on social media
Florida deputy's co-workers share embarrassing post on social media

Even police officers can make a mistake when they are in a rush, which is why the Volusia County Sheriff's Office posted a picture that poked fun at one of their own.  Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Grant told the Daytona Beach News-Journal the deputy was waiting out the rain in DeLand, Florida, while topping off his tank and forgot about...
New museum slated for Round Rock along Chisholm Trail
New museum slated for Round Rock along Chisholm Trail

A new museum is slated to open in Round Rock along the Chisholm Trail in the coming months. The museum is expected to be called the Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail and is slated to have a grand opening on April 1. Mickie Ross, executive director of the Williamson Museum in Georgetown, made the announcement Thursday at the Round Rock City Council...
Police chief, officer charged in shooting death of 73-year-old woman
Police chief, officer charged in shooting death of 73-year-old woman

An accidental shooting at a citizen’s police academy in Punta Gorda, Florida, resulted in the death of a retired librarian and charges against a police chief and an officer. According to WINK, Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis and Officer Lee Coel were charged in connection with an August shooting that killed 73-year-old Mary Knowlton...
Roughly 100 have gathered for ‘Queer Dance Freakout’ in front of governor’s mansion in Austin
Roughly 100 have gathered for ‘Queer Dance Freakout’ in front of governor’s mansion in Austin

About 100 people are currently in front of the Texas governor’s mansion, at 1010 Colorado St., as part of the “Queer Dance Freakout.”  The event, which lasts until 9 p.m., is part gay pride celebration and part protest. Those in attendance showed up to take issue with the state’s proposed transgender bathroom...
Man shot near LBJ High School, officials say
Man shot near LBJ High School, officials say

10:25 p.m. update: Officials confirmed that a man was shot near the LBJ High School campus, which is what prompted a lockdown at the school just after 5 p.m. EMS medics took an adult man to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. His injuries are potentially life-threatening. The shooting happened in...
More Stories