Our Mission

To support wildlife and habitat conservation at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and in cooperation with the refuge to help broaden public awareness, education and advocacy.

Welcome to the Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge manages and protects an area of the Texas Hill Country known for its diverse plants and wildlife, steep limestone ‘balconies,’ and precious endangered species. Experience the beauty of this ecological gem by visiting any of the four public use areas on the refuge. Bring your friends and family and enjoy hiking, learning and unwinding in nature. Please note the trails on the refuge are open 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset. Refuge headquarters is closed on Saturday and Sunday and on federal holidays.

Who We Are

Established in 2002, the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge was founded by a few friends who loved nature and wanted to support Central Texas' only National Wildlife Refuge. It has since grown from a handful of individuals to a collective of over 300 members. Balcones Canyonlands contains some of the best habitat in the Texas Hill Country and we plan to continue the legacy of habitat restoration, conservation, and nurturing the next generation of conservation champions. Our Friends group is one of 200 Friends organizations nationwide supporting the 280 wildlife refuges and wetland management districts.

Today, the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR priorities continue to be focused on protecting the land and the wildlife, on environmental education for all ages such that wildlife will continue to be protected in the future, and on creating programs that enable people to enjoy and fully connect with nature. We fully support the mission of the refuge in a myriad of ways including managing invasive species, funding infrastructure like the pavilion at Doeskin Ranch, developing and maintaining trails, and supporting habitat restoration projects.

Who are we? We suspect we’re a lot like you – you love nature, you want to be out enjoying nature, and you want to see special places like the Balcones Canyonlands NWR protected for your children and for their children. Come join us and advocate for nature! Hope to see you out on the trails soon.

Seasonal highlights

It’s  summer time and the living is easy...   lots of interesting things happening at the refuge.

mountain Pinks

They are small clusters of pink flowers dotting the dry rocky slopes through the heat of a Texas summer. Butterflies and bees love them but they are unpalatable to livestock. Thanks to our friend Paula Richards for this photo.

Fledglings have flown

The songbirds have raised their young and will soon be heading south for the winter. Did you know Golden-cheeked Warbler nestlings are ready to leave the nest after only 9-12 days? In late August, they will be heading to their winter grounds in Mexico and Central America. Thanks to our friend Gil Eckrich for this lovely photo.

The Sounds of Summer

Every summer in Texas, it sounds a bit like the jungle as adult male cicada create their unique song using the timbral part of their exoskeleton. Since their sound is so loud, they have to disable their typana (eardrums) to prevent them from going deaf. Have you ever tried to find where the sounds are coming from? They sound like they're coming from everywhere! Nymphs of some species can live underground for as long as 17 years before coming topside to moult for the last time, shedding its exoskeleton, revealing the adult.  If you look carefully, you may find empty skeletons attached to tree bark, under benches, or even hidden in the leaves of a small bush. Thanks to our friend Sheryl Smith Rodgers for sharing such an awesome photo.

How You Can Help

About Us

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

Become a Member

Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

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