The west fork of the Frio River and several spring fed creeks wind through the 2,000 acre Krause Ranch located near Leakey, Texas in Real County. In recent years, extensive clearing of Ashe Juniper, along with careful wildlife management, have returned tall grasses and clustered Oak Mottes to their native state of abundance; thus restoring the life-giving flow of continuous natural springs throughout the property. Located in the area once famed as Pearl Beer's "land of eleven hundred springs," Krause Ranch acts as a sieve, funneling rainfall and runoff deep into the Earth where it can be stored in limestone caverns.
The largest of the springs, Church Springs is presently under study by the TPWD and the Nueces River Authority. Characterized as one of "Texas's Finest Treasures," Church Spring pours forth from the limestone outcropping into a tree-shaded pool lined with ancient ferns, mountain laurels and leafy shrubs.
A stately stone in the middle of the pristine stream creates an altar-like effect while a fallen tree that spans the creek provides a sheltered pew to capture a mystical moment. The spring is home to rare bullnose minnows and an unusual species of flesh-toned salamanders.
On the opposite side of the mountain, a sister spring flows from honeycombed rock into a sinkhole, a cavernous body of underground water known as Englishmen's Well. Divers and a reel truck with wire line have failed to plumb the depth of the crystal clear waters. Petrified coral and prehistoric clam beds testify to ancient geographic upheaval.
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