David Baker - Jacob's Well

Wimberley

Jacob’s Well surges up out of the secondlongest underwater cave in Texas to feed beautiful Cypress Creek. It fills Wimberley’s Blue Hole swimming area to eventually spill into the Blanco River. It is a treasured place to many and home to a rich and diverse ecosystem.

In the mid-1980s, David Baker, a painter and artist, moved his family to a Wimberley property that contained a portion of Jacob’s Well. David operated a small bed and breakfast on the property and fell in love with the place. It immediately felt like serendipity since David’s son, who was nine-months old at the time, was also named Jacob.

Wanting to protect the water quality and the spring-water flow of Jacob’s Well, David became increasingly involved with the Hays County community. In 1996, he helped establish the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, a land trust formed to hold conservation easements, buy property, and advocate for open space. He still serves as its executive director.

As a means of preserving Jacob’s Well, increasingly threatened by drought and growing groundwater demand, the Watershed Association set out to acquire the 46 acres adjacent to the well. With 144 parcels of land, divided mostly into quarter-acre lots, it seemed impossible to purchase the area in its entirety. But through David’s unwavering passion and hard work—and with foundation funding—the Watershed Association purchased the land in December 2005, and created the Jacob’s Well Natural Area.

David didn’t stop there. He continued working with local officials and conservation groups on developing a successful bond package that voters overwhelmingly supported. Ultimately, his efforts to educate the 11 community and public officials on their responsibility to preserve a natural and historical water feature resulted in expansion of Jacob’s Well Natural Area from 46 acres to a 96-acre preserve. As part of the deal, the Watershed Association conveyed about 31 acres of its 46-acre holding—including the land containing Jacob’s Well—to Hays County. The remaining 15 acres—including the home David and his family had immediately loved—are owned and operated as a bed and breakfast by the Watershed Association.

The property will continue to be used for low-impact educational and recreational activities, all of which will be conducted in accordance with a management plan. The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association will continue to manage the natural area and further develop the aquifer research and environmental education programs. And David Baker will continue to lead the way, with respect for the catalyst that inspires his life’s vocation.