Residents of Williamson County will soon have the chance to hike 10-12 miles of trails, camp and enjoy playgrounds and pavilions at River Ranch County Park.
Williamson County celebrated the groundbreaking of the park, which is located around the borders of Leander and Liberty Hill, Dec. 10.
“This is going to be a gem in our county parks system,” said Cynthia Long, Williamson County commissioner Precinct 2. “It’s got all different types of terrain. It’s just beautiful. Our hope is that people will be able to come out here and experience being [outdoors]in a somewhat undisturbed state.”
River Ranch County Park is an undeveloped property composed of more than 1,000 acres of meadowlands, wetlands and hills, according to a county news release. The park runs along the South Fork of the San Gabriel River and will offer areas for picnics, camping, hiking, horse paths and RV camping. Construction of Phase 1 of the park will cost approximately $11.04 million and is expected to be finished in 2020, according to the release.
“It’s going to have a state park feel, and we have none of those in Williamson County, so I think this will be a really loved park,” Long said.
The county originally purchased the land in 2008 for around $10.63 million using voter-approved park bonds, according to a statement from the county.
Randy Bell, senior director of the county’s parks and recreation department, said the wildlife on the property has seen little disturbance. He said the park has turkey, deer, hogs, snakes and more, along with typical hill country vegetation such as cedar.
“This, like our other parks, [is]going to be [an island]in a sea of development. …,” Bell said. “Future generations are going to love this place and be really thankful that the county preserved it.”
The entrance road to River Ranch County Park will be located off Bagdad, west of CR 278, and will be half a mile long on the west side of the intersection. Road construction will cost an additional $2.96 million and is anticipated to be complete in 16 months, according to the release.