In the late 1990s, The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas pulled together a group of interested persons to begin the long process of land reclamation at Cathedral Park. The group was inspired by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center in Austin and their understanding of landscape restoration. The concept seeks to eliminate “invasive plants” – those that are not native to a region and that work against the natural environment.
The presence of non-native plants in a natural area causes economic loss and environmental damage to humans, animals, and an entire ecosystem. Native plants, on the other hand, attract and provide food and shelter for local animals, birds, and insects, and increase biodiversity. This is so important because native plants, animals and insects are interdependent. A native tree or plant attracts and feeds many times more insects than a non-native one.
Over several years efforts by individuals and groups have cleared out a good number of invasive plants and are slowly returning Cathedral Park to its natural environment. As each area has been reclaimed, providing for handicapped access has been of prime importance.
Consistent with this is the recent restoration of the pump house on the property. The Goulds pump in the pump house once provided water from the aquifer to the Halff estate and is said to be one the finest of its kind and one of the only pumps still at its original location in San Antonio. The Gould’s company is an old company in New York from where the pump must have come.