Gorgeous Powderhorn Ranch is the Newest State Wildlife Area in Texas

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By the spring of 2019, it’s anticipated that an exciting new wildlife management area in Texas will be open to the public. Powderhorn Ranch is 15K acres of “prime unspoiled coastal prairie” according to a press release by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Located near Port O’Connor (northeast of Corpus Christi,) its immediate planned usage will be low-impact activities (i.e. birding tours), and future plans indicate that paddling, fishing, and hunting may also be in the works. The remaining acres of the property are hoped to become a new state park.

Announced on Thursday, October 25, three decades have gone into the planning for preservation of Powderhorn Ranch. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation began the process of acquiring the property – a 17,351-acre parcel – to the tune of $37.7 million four years ago. This was then recognized as the largest conservation investment in the state’s history. In a recent news release, Wildlife Division Director Clayton Wolf said, “The department is privileged to be the steward of this unique and ecologically significant piece of the Texas Coast that the conservation community has worked so hard to protect. We look forward to managing these valuable natural resources for current and future generations of Texans to enjoy.”

Gorgeous Powderhorn Ranch is the Newest State Wildlife Area in Texas

Photo: Facebook/Rich Kostecke

A large portion of the funding for the purchase of Powderhorn Ranch was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf of Environmental Benefit Fund, in the amount of $34.5 million. The acquisition was secured in partnership by the Nature Conservancy, the TPWF, the TPWD, and the Conservation Fund. According to the TPWD website, acreage such as this new Texas wildlife management area is generally maintained for outdoor recreation as well as conducting research. Texas features close to 50 such area, accounting for approximately 50 percent of the 1.4 million acres managed by the TPWD. The property at Powderhorn Ranch is home to salt marshes, tidal flats, freshwater wetlands, and live oak forests. It’s one of the largest undisturbed tracts of native coastal prairie habitat remaining in the state of Texas.