Can one of the fastest-developing regions in the country prioritize conservation? That’s the hope of the ambitious Great Springs Project, which has inched a little closer to realizing its goal of a national parklike trail connecting two of Texas’ most populous cities.

On Dec. 8, the National Park Service selected the Great Springs Project to receive backing in the form of “community planning and technical assistance” for their endeavor to build a network of multiuse trails from Austin to San Antonio. The project proposes adding 50,000 acres of protected land over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and portions of the contributing zones in Hays, Travis, Comal, and Bexar counties, as well as connecting hike-and-bike trails to the project’s namesake four bodies of water: Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs.

Read more from Lina Fisher with The Austin Chronicle here.