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Ed Scharf

Region: Hill Country

Topics: Groundwater, Green Party, Non-profit, Ecotourism

Mr. Scharf is a businessman and retired Air Force employee who has been active in protecting the Hill Country region northwest of San Antonio. 

Starting first as a loose and informal group known as the Scenic Loop Playground Club, he, his wife Irene, and other concerned neighbors held issues events and candidates' forums that often touched on environmental issues.  In 1985, Mr. Scharf and others put together the Save Scenic Loop organization to stop widening of a narrow, two-lane road to a 4-lane divided highway.  Another early effort fought, and successfully halted, erection of a strobe-lit tower and substation in their rural and scenic area.

Over time, Mr. Scharf felt that it was important to work more proactively and widely, and so he helped organize a group known as the Bexar Clean Land-Air-Water-Scenery.  Bexar CLAWS circulated a newsletter to raise awareness of various local and regional environmental problems (such as coal-fired power plant emissions), and prepared the Citizen's Northwest Bexar County Master Plan as a sustainable map for the area's future.

With San Antonio's continued growth and spread into the Hill Country to its northwest, Mr. Scharf became increasingly concerned about the long-term reliability and purity of the local groundwater.  As a result, he served on the Bexar County Trinity Aquifer Conservation Coalition which organized and lobbied for creation of the Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District to protect local aquifer resources from contamination, overdraft and export.

In his business ventures, he has also tried to find a more sustainable route towards living in the fragile Hill Country, by developing various ecotourism projects, including the Mystic Springs Wildlife Lodge, Sparkling Springs Nature Preserve, Scenic Heights Nature preserve, Scenic Springs Events Center and Spa, and the Go Outside program.

In many aspects of his life, he keeps in mind the Freethinking tradition of the Hill Country that has so fascinated him.  The Freethinkers (Freidenkers) were German intellectuals who immigrated between 1845 and 1860 to the area around Comfort, Sisterdale, and Boerne, to escape famine, war and religious oppression, and to practice their right to think and speak freely in pursuit of the truth. 


February 18, 2006
Grey Forest, Texas
Reels 2346

Please see a brief Real Media video excerpt from our interview with Mr. Scharf.

Please see the uncut video (reel 2346) or the  transcript of Mr. Scharf's full interview.





Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project

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