AUSTIN --- Today, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) voted to protect 515 acres of land near Guadalupe River State Park slated for a new housing development. The development could have led to pollution of the Honey Creek and the Guadalupe River and destroyed habitat for endangered wildlife such as the Golden Cheeked Warbler, Guadalupe Bass and Texas Salamander.
Environment Texas Conservation Associate Seth Billingsley, who testified in support of the acquisition at today’s commission meeting, released the following statement:
“This is perhaps the most significant action the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has taken on land conservation in years. Thanks to the TPWD commissioners, the Nature Conservancy and others, this beautiful land will now remain protected from development and, hopefully, eventually open to the public as parkland.
Every day, expanding cities and towns replace wild places at a staggering 10 acres per hour. Today, we simply do not have enough public wild areas for our growing population to enjoy. It can take months to book a campsite and visitors often face long lines to enter parks and are sometimes even turned away. While Texas’ growth shows no signs of slowing, fortunately our state can keep its wilderness if our elected and appointed officials choose to act.
In the coming months, the Legislature will meet to decide how to spend almost $16 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. Of that money, $12.2 billion is available for general government programs, which includes state parks and facilities, according to policy think tank Texas 2036. If we spent just 2 percent of those funds on growing our state parks system, we could get a serious jump start on building up the park system to meet our state’s increasing demand for public lands.”