The wide-open spaces of Texas are a gift to all who live here, but they’re not a given. Ninety-five percent of the state is privately owned. This means that landowning families—working together with government, nonprofits, developers, and concerned citizens—play a crucial role in sustaining our most treasured natural environments.

At Shield Ranch, stewarding and protecting the Hill Country ecosystem is our solemn purpose. Located just 18 miles southwest of downtown Austin, we are a 6,400-acre historic district and protected wildland. Today, we are home to a mosaic of habitats, a diverse community of native plants and animals, and over six breathtaking miles of Barton Creek.

Through an evolving program of land management, unique nature immersion experiences, and conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy and the City of Austin, Shield Ranch offers something exceptionally rare in our rapidly urbanizing community—a truly wild place. Join us in making sure it stays that way.


Heart of a Watershed

Shield Ranch is characterized by a wide variety of topographical features and wildlife habitats typical of the Hill Country, including limestone bluffs, oak-juniper woodlands, grasslands, meandering creeks, and a six mile run of Barton Creek through the middle of The Ranch.

Learn about the Land
The Family

Bonded To The Land

Eighty years ago, Fred and Vera Shield purchased an expanse of land in Travis County southwest of Austin. Fred, a successful wildcatter who would become a distinguished independent oil producer, grew up on a small cotton farm near San Saba. Vera was raised in Abilene and became a nurse anesthetist and community volunteer. Together they stayed close to this land that would come to be known as Shield Ranch. Here, four generations of the Shield-Ayres-Bowen family fell in love with Barton Creek and the natural beauty of the Hill Country and vowed to steward and protect it.