Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, located off Loop 360, is managed as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and consists of 227 acres of Hill Country woodlands owned jointly by Travis County (164.4 acres) and St. Edwards University (62.6 acres). The Preserve was acquired through the hard work and perseverance of community activists, who were concerned about the loss of greenspace due to the rapid urbanization of the Austin area in the 1970s. The basin, an untouched piece of land, had been identified as an ideal place for research and education if kept preserved.
In 1975, the activists approached Travis County to apply for funds from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) in order to preserve the land. The Committee for Wild Basin Wilderness had learned that if they were able to raise $175,000, they could receive matching BOR funds to enable the purchase of the land. The women on the committee, who referred to themselves as “the seven little old ladies in tennis shoes,” were able to raise $80,000 in three months and gained overwhelming community support for the project through their dedicated efforts. The group pursued diverse means of raising money, from community garage sales to fashion show benefits. Over the next three years, $284,000 in cash and more than $370,000 worth of donated land were given to Travis County for the establishment of Wild Basin, and matching funds of $654,000 from the U.S. Government were granted to buy the land.Today, Wild Basin continues to be a shining example of urban wildness. It is home to numerous at-risk and threatened species of flora and fauna, including the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Wild Basin is open to the public for hiking and hosts many educational programs and community events, including science educational programs and guided hikes that promote environmental education in Texas.