This city park may be one of the largest city parks in Central Texas. At 525 acres it is huge! Garey Park has 7 miles of trails over two hills and river frontage on the South San Gabriel River. How did a small town get a park this large?
Well enter the Gareys. Jack and Camille Garey bought the 525-acre ranch in 1966. They loved the land and wanted it preserved and not developed as it is sandwiched between Leander and Georgetown. So, what did they do? In 2004 they made a public statement that they were going to give the ranch to the City of Georgetown, AND five million dollars to develop a park on the condition that Georgetown match the funds and keep the land as a park forever.
The land was first settled in 1853 by A. B. Brown.
When Jack Garey first purchased the ranch there wasn’t even a house on it.
Jack Garey served in the U.S. Navy and upon discharge entered the University of Texas at Austin where he obtained a business degree in 1955 and a Law Degree in 1957. Garey was a personal injury attorney and handled workman’s compensation cases. But Garey made his fortune when he switched to construction forming the Garey Construction Company in 1978. Garey’s construction company constructed roads and highways.
Garey was also involved in real estate and ranching, having two other ranches in Runnels and Falls Counties. He also loved raising racehorses.
Planning to live in the 6500 square foot house they had built on the ranch until they passed away the timeline was moved up when Camille died of ovarian cancer in 2012.
Jack Garey moved from his beloved ranch in 2017 so the city could begin work on the park. Jack Garey was also a great endower of Southwestern University in Georgetown establishing a 15-million-dollar scholarship fund. Jack Garey died in 2022 at the age of 92.
I started out on the Highlands Trail which took me up and over the first hill.
After this I headed for the Saddleback Trail which ascends the second hill. from this trail I got to the Cedar Ridge Trail Overlook.
I then came down out of the highlands and headed for the river. Along the side of the trails was a lot of Sideoats Grama the state grass of Texas.
The meadow trail leads to the South Fork San Gabriel River.
The river was beautiful.
As I headed back to the car, I was thinking how fortunate the city and the area in general were to have this nice place.
The sprawl is closing in but thanks to the Gareys generous gift, this land will remain wild forever.