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Bright Leaf Preserve, a 216-acre nature preserve located in west Austin, is a unique Central Texas resource and a thriving ecosystem for numerous plants and animals. In August of 2021, Austin Community Foundation transferred ownership and management of the preserve to Austin Water. With this transfer, Bright Leaf has become a part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, a system of more than 32,000 acres that exists as a multi-agency conservation effort.

History of Bright Leaf

Bright Leaf is the legacy of native Austinite Georgia B. Lucas. She acquired the property over her lifetime 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 with finding a permanent owner for Bright Leaf, per Ms. Lucas’ will. After a thorough and diligent RFP process, Austin Community Foundation selected Austin Water to become the long-term owner and carry out the mission of Bright Leaf. Austin Water became the owner and manager of Bright Leaf in August 2021.

Protection and Preservation

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. Download the fact sheet for more information.