Saving a Mountain.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If you've ever been to Wimberley, Texas, you know its charm.  You've shopped at the square or Market Days, you've gone swimming at Blue Hole, maybe you've seen a movie at the Corral Theatre or a play at the EmilyAnn Theatre.  Perhaps you enjoyed summer camp at Rocky River Ranch (more on that soon!).  If you know Wimberley, you know what a beautiful Hill Country treasure it is.

But do you know about Old Baldy?

Truthfully, this is not Old Baldy.  It's Baldy's sister, as viewed from the top of Old Baldy.

Wimberley has a tiny mountain---a hill, really---that provides a gorgeous view of the Wimberley valley.  It's an iconic landmark that's been enjoyed for generations.

Ask any Wimberley old-timer, and they'll tell you about hiking up Old Baldy's 218 stone steps for exercise, reflection, maybe even romance or up-to-no-good antics.  If you're lucky, you'll hear about twirling round the dance floor that once sat atop Old Baldy.

A few months ago, when people arrived to climb Baldy, they found it chained off with "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" signs.  Old Baldy had, in fact, been privately owned for many years by a church, which called it Prayer Mountain.

But the church decided to sell the property.  

My parents, who have decades-old ties to Wimberley and now live there, saw a news article referencing the sale of Baldy.  Fearing that an important Wimberley landmark could be lost to development, they quickly sprung into action.  Next thing I knew, they had put together a deal to purchase the mountain (follow-up news article here) and a family field trip to Old Baldy.

A generous local resident loaned money for the purchase.  A nonprofit foundation was formed, and a board of directors was assembled.  Then a deal was struck -- the City of Wimberley will purchase Old Baldy for $75,000 and make it a city park, ensuring that it will remain open to the public, but only if the foundation can raise $95,000 by the end of January to repay the remainder of the loan.  That's great news, right?  But it's not much time!

The Save Old Baldy Foundation volunteers are hard at work to keep up their end of the bargain and ultimately turn Old Baldy over to the City of Wimberley.  Board members have been spotted outside Brookshire Brothers telling people about Baldy, they've been organizing local donation drives (Tuesdays in October at Linda's Fine Foods and the coin funnel at The Leaning Pear during parts of November and December), and they've been planning a big fundraising event.  I've hardly seen my mom the last couple of months -- she's committed to the cause and focused on the goal.

Baldyfest will take place on November 8th, noon to 8pm, at Cypress Creek Cafe.  There will be live music (great bands!), an auction, and lots of fun.  I bet you might even spot a baldie or two there.

If you're free that day, head to Wimberley and enjoy some local music.  Most importantly, help save Old Baldy so that this Wimberley treasure will remain available for future generations to enjoy.   And so I can see my mom again (hopefully before February). You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Save Old Baldy Foundation here.

1 comment: