Adams Preserve: Hidden Gem of Western Texas

By: Emily Nason
Posted on:09/05/2018 Updated:09/06/2018

This tranquil spring-fed creek of the Western Hill Country of Texas looks like something out of a fairy tale or a movie. With its watering holes, hidden caverns, babbling streams, and rare plants, it’s truly a “garden of Eden.” Untouched, and completely isolated, this beautiful creek and canyon have been owned by one family for 75 years. The Adams Family bought the canyon from a ranching family in the 1940s and dedicated their lives to protecting it and keeping it pristine.

Lew Adams, whose family owns the land, was kind enough to answer some questions and tell us the history of this hidden gem. The story goes that Lew’s father used to hunt on a ranch in West Central Texas. On one of his hunting trips he discovered a creek canyon filled with ancient cypress trees. When Lew’s father asked the rancher about the canyon, the rancher complained that the canyon was located in the middle of his large ranch and that his live stock would often fall in or be trapped in the canyon. He said it was a “Money-Pit!”

“Jokingly my dad said; “well if you ever decide to get rid of it… let me know.” When my dad returned home there was a message waiting and within a few days a price was reached!  Once the deed was signed it was reported that the rancher went to the local saloon and bought everyone a round, bragging how he sold the “city-boy” a worthless rock pile. This was September 1941.” 

The property purchased by the Adamses was 25 acres and bordered on the west by the creek, the north by the Pedernales River, and the south and east by the remainder of the Hunnicutt property. The Adams family bought the east side and west side was purchased by Adams’ best friend Mr. Black, also 25 acres.  The 50 acres was beautifully rugged, with springs, large cypress trees and a canyon about 150-175 feet deep, full of boulders, and becoming deeper as it approaches the Pedernales River to the north.

“The canyon was so pristine, wild, and primitive, that my mother and father fell in love with it. They, and Mr. Black, decided then to leave it untouched and not to do anything to change it. No septic, no sewage, no clear cutting, slash burning, grazing, plowing, planting, etc”

Because the Adams family and the Black family have had such a commitment to conservation, the land really has remained untouched and is home to rare plant and animal species rarely found in Texas today, including two endangered species of birds and one threatened species of fish. The area is often used by Texas Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife, and Audubon as field study laboratories. Recently, one of the states chief herpetologists discovered a rare salamander in one of the springs, which is very exciting! The salamander has only been found in one other location and is yet an undescribed species.

It’s people like the Adams family and the Black family, who take the initiative to preserve and protect beautiful pieces of land and allow institutes to study it, that are the real heroes of conservation. With their stewardship we have the opportunity to continue learning and discovering new species that may have otherwise been wiped out or gone undiscovered. 

“In my mother’s book, Bird-Witched! How Birds Can Change a Life, she sums it up perfectly: we don’t own the land…we’re only borrowing it from our grandchildren.”

When Lew Adams isn’t working to preserve this unique creek and canyon, he owns the Talent Film Group, Inc., and VNE Productions, a television and film production company. Lew has been working in the television and motion picture industry for more than 50 years. He has worked in live television, musicals, comedy and multi-camera, dramatic, documentary, series television, television specials. Below is a video clip of Adams Reserve, created by Lew!

The Adams Family is currently seeking conservation minded organizations and individuals interested in helping them establish a conservation easement and preserve. If interested, please email Lew Adams