Bright Leaf Preserve
Bright Leaf Preserve, a 216-acre nature preserve in west Austin is a unique Central Texas resource and a thriving ecosystem known for hundreds of plant species and numerous animals, like deer, jackrabbits, great horned owls, and the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler.
Located south of 2222 and Mesa Drive, Bright Leaf Preserve welcomes more than 1,500 visitors each year for scheduled hikes led by trained guides. School children, families, educators, botanists and geologists benefit from this protected wooded refuge and its maze of creeks and spectacular views of Lake Austin and the Hill Country.
The Foundation takes the preservation and management of this protected wooded refuge seriously. Staff and volunteers, in coordination with the Austin Fire Department, conduct regular wildfire prevention efforts. Staff and volunteers also patrol the property routinely surveying for trespassers, potential fire risks and other hazards.
Georgia B. Lucas grew up enjoying the breezy hilltop cabin near Mount Bonnell where her family retreated during Austin’s hot summers. The young artistically-minded Lucas explored the shaded paths and creek, enjoying the bird song and wildflowers. As a savvy businesswoman, Lucas later purchased the land that makes up Bright Leaf through 34 separate real estate transactions. At the end of her life, she wished to preserve the land so others could appreciate it and benefit from its beauty. She envisioned a place for visitors to take guided hikes to learn about the land’s geology, biology and ecology.
In 2006, the ownership and management of the preserve transferred to Austin Community Foundation. As part of the transfer, the Foundation was charged, per Lucas' will, with finding a permanent owner for Bright Leaf and is in the midst of that process.