The Hill Country State Natural Area is on Farm Road 1107 eleven miles southwest of Bandera in southern Bandera County. In 1976 Louise Lindsey Merrick, a local ranch owner, began donating land to the state with the provision that it be managed as a state natural area. By 1982 all 4,753 acres of the Merrick property was under state control, but the area was not opened to the public until 1984. In 1987 the state purchased an additional 617 acres adjacent to the park, bringing the total park area to 5,370 acres. The park offers excellent opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and primitive camping. Wildlife at the park in 1990 included deer, turkey, and a variety of smaller animals and birds, and the vegetation in the area consisted primarily of oak, cedar, cacti, yucca, hackberry, and mountain laurel. In 1990 12,000 people visited the park.