Devil’s River State Natural Area: Would Texas toss almost 20,000 acres?

Could be cause for concern.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is thinking about trading almost 20 thousand acres, that’s 19,989 to be exact of the Devil’s River State Natural Area in west Texas.  The Agency is calling it a swap but Sierra Club sent them a letter today about our concerns.  Basically those are:

  1. The public needs more detailed information to have meaningful input.
  2. The time frame for input before the decision is too fast — A decision could happen Nov. 4?!
  3. Financially questionable — requires additional cash payment.  Land being swapped for includes infrastructure that would be costlier to maintain than a natural area.
  4. This move would reduce Texas park lands by 2,000 acres.  Texas has few state natural areas and relatively few public park lands per capita compared to other states.  TPWD should be expanding park lands, not reducing!
  5. While Sierra Club likes acquiring certain new parks for ecological and other reasons regardless of location, TPWD has a priority to acquire new parks near major cities.  Val Verde County, where TPWD would have to put down cash in this exchange, is far from any urban area, God bless ’em!
  6. Canoeists and kayakers might no longer be able to navigate the entire stretch of Devil’s River. 

Right now, you can ask the TPWD’s Conservation guy  Ted.Hollingsworth@tpwd.state.tx.us to allow more time for public input and to hold off on this swap until the public has more information and can provide our input on the decision.

There are also a couple of public meetings scheduled —

Del Rio, Wed. Oct. 20, 6:00 PM, Del Rio Civic Center, Mesquite Room, 1915 Veteran’s Blvd., Del Rio, TX  – 830-774-8641

San Antonio, Tues, Oct. 26, 6:00 PM, Central Public Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio, TX — 210-207-2500

In the meantime, watch for a planned Action Alert.

If you’re not already signed-up, you can help a lot by joining Sierra Club’s Action Alert system.  

It has definitely made a difference!  Here’s what happened when our Action Alert activists rapidly generated 400 emails to TPWD about a proposed sale of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Explore, Enjoy, Protect!

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