Critics upset with sale of part of Big Bend State Park

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering a proposed sale of about 15% of Big Bend Ranch State Park, or 46000 acres, to Houstonian John Poindexter.

Comptroller Strayhorn makes an appearance:

Republican Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is running for governor, said that 97 percent of the land in Texas is privately held and that the department shouldn't sell what little land it has for state parks.

But if the agency is determined to complete the transaction, it needs to pursue a more open process, she said. "This is a backroom, behind-closed-doors, secret contract," Strayhorn said.

Many Texans might be skeptical to hear that part of the park is being sold, unless a particularly good price is being offered, regardless of what Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Lydia Saldana says:
Parks and Wildlife Department spokeswoman Lydia Saldana has said that staff members recommended the transaction in part because there is no public access to the northern area and that the department can use the proceeds to buy other land for the park.

She said the department is well aware of concerns about the proposal.

Since Perry appointed most of this board (nope, I ain't factchecking yet, I'm just assuming), Strayhorn might try to make this a campaign issue.

UPDATE: A few minutes after I posted this, I see:

A hotly contested plan to sell 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park evaporated Thursday when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously rejected the $2 million deal.


The land in question makes up the northern panhandle of the 300,000-acre park, established when the state acquired 222,000 acres in 1988.

The commission explained that it had hoped to use the proceeds from sale of the land to Poindexter at $43.68 per acre to purchase up to 28,000 acres in privately owned pockets of land within park boundaries. Specifically, they wanted to open public access in the southeastern portions of the park.

Interestingly, both articles quote the sale as selling about "1/6" of Big Bend. In fact, 1/6 is about 20% more than the actual figure.

Posted by Evan @ 08/26/05 01:13 AM


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