Our Mailing Address:
Hill Country Land Trust
PO Box 1724
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
Kim and Pam Bergman pursued a shared vision of buying some property in Gillespie Country, and their story is how acquiring a ranch changed them and the land forever. In 1996 the Bergmans acquired 685 acres south of Stonewall after working for 15 years in Saudi Arabia. The ranch possessed many of the aspects Pam and Kim had come to value most; dramatic topographic relief, high plateaus with views, and valleys and wooded creeks. With the acquisition of this parcel, the Bergmans began working on the land. They sought advice from the local NRCS agent, who taught them how to develop a progressive but conservative strategy for tackling the brush clearing on their land, and also showed them the value of continuously planting native grasses, and of protecting native vegetation from over-browsing . Kim, Pam and their children did the chain sawing, stacking, burning, and planting, often for 10-12 hours a day, spurred on by the positive way the land was responding to their efforts. Eventually, they high-fenced the 685 acres to control deer and hog populations. Other conservation management tasks included adding water wells and troughs, caging individual hardwood species, conducting managed burns and deer counts/culls, clipping return growth cedar from cleared areas, and adhering to strict rotational grazing and minimal stocking rates in response to lack of rainfall in order to maintain healthy grasslands.
The Bergmans were introduced to the Hill Country Land Trust in 2004 through friends, and also because a large property adjacent to them was put into a conservation easement. "It gave us great comfort to look across the fence and know we would never be seeing a subdivision," recalls Pam. Pam joined the all-volunteer HCLT board in 2012, and in 2013, she and Kim began the process of placing a conservation easement on their property .They agreed after so many years of working hard to restore native grass and protecting native diversity and riparian areas, they couldn't bear the thought of it being carved up and ruined.
The advice Pam and Kim would give others who are interested in becoming good land stewards is this: Know your land, take your time, ask questions, and get information by reading and talking to the experts, including other conservation easement donors. - Kim Bergman and Pam Mabry Bergman
posted on 3/23/2016