Texas Land Conservancy recently completed the permanent protection of 979 acres in the Hill Country. The newly protected Griffith Ranch is rich in history with a diverse landscape of savannah, brush, and riparian woodland habitats in Mason County.
The Road to Conservation
Texas Land Conservancy began working with the Griffith family in 2017 to place a donated conservation easement on their property. Joe and Becky Griffith and their family wanted to keep the land intact and undeveloped for future generations. With the establishment of the conservation easement, the ranch will never be subdivided or developed and will permanently retain its ranching heritage and wildlife habitat.
Current landowner Joe Griffith is an heir to the ranch founders. William Gamel was one of the first known settlers of Streeter, a small town just ten miles west of Mason. He arrived in Mason County on July 4, 1860, with his wife Catherine nee Tucker, four sons, and two daughters. The Gamel family settled near Bluff Creek, and in 1862, they built their permanent home, which was the first house built with a floor in Mason County (see image below). The foundation of that house still stands on the Griffith property today!
Griffith Ranch is a unique property that sits on the transition between the sandy Llano Uplift and the limestone Edwards Plateau Woodlands ecoregions. This area with an essential mix of brush and grasslands is well suited for a great diversity of wildlife including the recently delisted Black-capped Vireo. The riparian woodland is particularly rich in hill country songbirds, and the springs in Big Bluff Creek are a constant supply of water for all wildlife.
The Llano River watershed is one of TLC’s priority conservation areas due to its wild and undeveloped character which faces eminent threat by our states ever expanding growth. Keeping this large ranch undeveloped will help ensure the springs of Big Bluff Creek continue to flow and contribute to the water quality and quantity of the beautiful Llano River for the benefit of Texans and the environment alike.
Trees and Plants
The riparian woodland along the perennial Big Bluff Creek includes many exceptional hardwood trees with live oaks almost 20 feet in circumference. Abundant grasses have sustained ranching operations for countless years and will remain a beneficial resource.
A Conservation Success
TLC is thrilled to be a part of protecting this historic family ranch. We are thankful for the Griffith family and their commitment to conservation. Donated conservation easements are one of the greatest contributions to land preservation that landowners can make. TLC would also like to thank the Texas Land Trust Council who contributed a $9,400 matching grant to help cover the transaction costs associated with the project. Protecting land and safeguarding our natural heritage is important not only for today but forever.