Presenter: Walt Dabney

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Action
State Park Operational Rules
Unlawful Trash Disposal
August 2005

I. Executive Summary: This item presents a change to state park operational rules for adoption. The amendment prohibits persons from using visitation privileges to dispose of waste material in state parks.

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.101, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.102, the Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing abusive, disruptive, or destructive conduct of persons, the activities of park users, and conduct, which endangers the health, or safety of park users or their property.

The Regulations Committee at its May 2005 meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules appeared in the June 24, 2005, issue of the Texas Register (30 TexReg 3719). A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented to the Commission at the time of the hearing.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §§59.131 and 59.134, concerning State Parks Rules of Conduct, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the June 24, 2005, issue of the Texas Register (30 TexReg 3719)."

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

State Park Rules of Conduct
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) proposes amendments to §§59.131 and 59.134, concerning State Park Operational Rules. The amendment to §59.131, concerning Definitions, would add a definition for the term ‘garbage,’ which is necessary to provide a precise, unambiguous meaning for purposes of informing park visitors of inappropriate or unlawful conduct and, if necessary, for enforcing the terms of the amendment to §59.134, which would prohibit the disposal of garbage on state parks except under certain circumstances.

The amendment to §59.134, concerning Rules of Conduct in Parks, would prohibit the dumping of garbage in state parks, except for garbage generated during park visitation or garbage that could reasonably be expected to accumulate during a days’ travel. TPWD has noted the increasing frequency of the practice of using park visitation privileges to dispose of everything from household waste to construction debris in disposal facilities on state parks. Persons engaging in such conduct have discovered that it is less expensive to pay for entry to a park and dispose of garbage in remote or unsupervised areas than it is to pay to dump garbage in a landfill or other such facility. Such dumping on state parks creates unsightly and noisome detractions from recreational enjoyment and could pose health hazards to park visitors and employees (due to hazardous materials such as carcinogens, asbestos, medical waste, etc.). In any case, the practice creates an unnecessary and avoidable burden for TPWD in the form of additional time and expense in disposing of garbage that was not generated as a consequence of park visitation or travel. Therefore, TPWD proposes to delineate the specific circumstances under which garbage may be lawfully deposited in state parks.


2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules. TPWD expects that there will be reduced costs to the department of paying for the removal of garbage; however, the department is unable to quantify the cost savings. There will be fiscal no fiscal implications to units of local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.


3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the ability of the department to increase the aesthetic appearance of parks for the enjoyment of park visitors and lessen potential threats to the health and safety of park visitors caused by the opportunistic dumping of waste in state parks.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.


4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Wes Masur, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-8001 (e-mail: wes.masur@tpwd.state.tx.us).


5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Department, § 13.101, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations governing the health, safety, and protection of persons and property in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, or forts under the control of the department, including public water

within state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts, and under §13.102, which authorizes the commission to promulgate regulations governing the conservation, preservation, and use of state property whether natural features or constructed facilities; the abusive, disruptive, or destructive conduct of persons, the activities of park users, and conduct which endangers the health or safety of park users or their property.


The proposed new rule and amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.


§59.131. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) All-terrain vehicle—Any motor vehicle having a saddle for the use of the rider, designed to propel itself with three or four tires in contact with the ground.

(2) Arms and firearms—Any device from which shot, a projectile, arrow, or bolt is fired by the force of an explosion, compressed air, gas, or mechanical device. To include, but not limited to, rifle, shotgun, handgun, air rifle, pellet gun, longbow, cross bow, sling shot, blow gun, or dart gun.

(3) Artifacts—Objects used or modified by humans, including, but not limited to, arrow points, dart points, stone, bone, or shell implements or any other prehistoric or historic objects.

(4) Boat—A vessel not more than 65 feet in length, measured from end to end over the deck, excluding sheer, and manufactured or used primarily for noncommercial use.

(5) Cultural features—Include, but are not limited to, state archeological landmarks, archeological sites, historic sites and structures, pictographs and petrogryphs.

(6) Department—The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

(7) Director—The executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or his designee.

(8) Garbage—trash, refuse, rubbish, household waste, medical waste, rubble, spoil, construction debris, yard clippings, offal, or any other similarly useless, noxious, or offensive material.

(9)[(8)] Motorcycle—A two-wheeled vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine to include motor bikes, mini-bikes, and trail bikes.

(10)[(9)] Night—Any time from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

(11)[(10)] Person—Natural persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, clubs, and all associations or combinations of persons acting individually, or by an agent, servant, or employee.

(12)[(11)] Plant life—All plants including trees, dead or downed wood, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grass, sedge, fern, moss, lichen, fungus, or any other member of the plant family.

(13)[(12)] Public place—Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. In the state park system areas that are not considered a public place are cabins, screened shelters, recreation halls, group barracks, lodges, tents, campers, trailers, motor homes, or any vehicle(s) that are used as camping equipment.

(14)[(13)] Public nudity—To disrobe or appear nude in public. Females are considered to be disrobed when their breasts below the top of the areola are exposed except when nursing a baby.

(15)[(14)] State park—A park, park site, historical park, natural area, recreational area or fishing pier, administered, operated, or managed by the department.

(16)[(15)] Unattended pet—A pet that is unaccompanied or not under immediate control. Pets tied or secured outside of camping equipment or buildings are not considered under immediate control.

(17)[(16)] Wildlife—Any wild animal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, shellfish, aquatic life, or invertebrate.

69.134. Rules of Conduct in Parks.

(a)-(ee) (No change.)

(ff) Garbage.

(1) It is an offense for any person to discard, deposit, or dump garbage in a state park, except for:

(A) garbage generated inside the park during the course of park visitation; or

(B) an amount of garbage consistent with what ordinarily would accumulate in a vehicle in the course of a day’s travel.

(2) It is an offense for any person to dispose of garbage except in a receptacle provided for that use or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by department personnel.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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