Visitors to the Texas Hill Country are generally aware of the state, county, and city parks available to them for recreation and relaxation. From the sprawling 12,000-plus acres of the Government Canyon State Natural Area to the modest but still impressive 16 acres of Old Tunnel State Park, there’s plenty of space and natural diversity to explore, not to mention parks of wildly varying sizes!

Beyond that, though, did you know there are state-managed “parks” of a slightly different stripe, areas of natural beauty that often fly under the radar of guests who come to the Texas Hill Country? We’re going to take a peek at those unique ecological spaces, known as Wildlife Management Areas, or WMAs.

On the introduction to their WMA page, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) defines not only what a WMA is, but also tallies the main reasons they exist. Every type of ecological region of the state is represented by one or more WMAs, and there are 50 of them in the state, covering a grand total of almost 750,000 acres.

WMAs were established in Texas to help accomplish two important goals. The first is the respectful conservation and maintenance of unique ecosystems that might not otherwise flourish without the special protections provided by its WMA designation. The second is to provide study resources for scientists, students, and the general public. The latter is given special emphasis on the TPWD’s introductory page: “Past generations of Texas families lived in or near rural, natural areas of the state, and understood the value and necessity of healthy natural systems. But today most Texans live near cities and towns, and many of us have lost our connection with the land.”

There are two WMAs in the Texas Hill Country, and one of them in particular is especially dedicated to the concept of reconnecting with the land noted above. That is the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, located 12 miles west of Hunt on RR 1340. The Kerr WMA features self-driving tours designed to display the diversity of wildlife and plant life in the region. Guided seminars are held here on occasion, and there are designated spaces for fishing and biking, as well. Roads through the WMA are open daily during daylight hours, and the office is open 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. The physical address of the Kerr WMA is 2625 RR 1340, Hunt, TX 78024, and their office number is (830) 238-4483. There is no admission fee to use the Kerr WMA. Restroom facilities are available, but bring your own supply of drinking water.

The second WMA in the Hill Country is the Mason Mountain WMA, located four miles north of Mason on Old Mason Road. Unlike the Kerr WMA, access to Mason Mountain is limited to hunters with special permits only. For more information on this WMA, call their office at (325) 347-5037.

The Hill Country has a bountiful collection of state parks, natural areas, and even more parks at the county and city level, and they all offer adventure and inspiration to nature lovers and fans of the great outdoors! No matter where in the region your travels take you, you’ll find a “Parks” section in each of the 30-plus towns listed in the Texas Hill Country Travel App. These listings will direct you to the best parks around!