Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Proposed Land Sale – Randall and Armstrong Counties
Sale of Approximately 2,014 Acres at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
March 29, 2012

I.              Executive Summary:  TPWD has negotiated a contract for the sale of 2,014 acres of land adjacent to Palo Duro Canyon and completed the public notice and input process.

II.            Discussion:  In 2008, in a dual transaction straddling FY2008 and FY2009, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) acquired the 2,867-acre Fortress Cliffs Ranch in order to protect the 5-mile face and rim of Fortress Cliffs, which dominate much of the viewshed from the state park within the canyon.

The acquisition included a house and roughly 1,500 acres of grassland used as pasture by previous owners, neither of which was considered to add significantly to the mission of the park.  At the time of acquisition, it was intended that these assets would be evaluated and the portion of the ranch with minimal value to TPWD would be sold.  Using computer modeling and site visits to map views from the park, evaluate recreational access and outline public use options, staff proposed the sale of the house and approximately 2,014 acres of land, primarily grassland with some cedar brush and a side canyon complex known as Tub Springs Draw.  The sale tract is configured to include a quarter mile of canyon rim.  The entire sale tract will be restricted by a conservation easement held by TPWD and running with the land in perpetuity.

A local broker was retained and public marketing of the tract began in December 2010.  An offer for purchase has been presented to TPWD consisting of terms and conditions staff believes to be in the best interest of TPWD.  Staff has completed the public notice and input process.

III.     Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.”Attachments — 5
  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Park Map
  5. Exhibit E – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission regarding the Sale of
Approximately 2,014 Acres of Real Property in Randall and Armstrong Counties

Whereas, in 2008, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) did purchase approximately 2,867 acres of land in Randall and Armstrong Counties known as the “Fortress Cliffs Ranch” adjacent to Palo Duro Canyon State Park for the purpose of protecting the view of the Fortress Cliffs for the enjoyment of present and future generations; and,

Whereas, the acquisition of the Fortress Cliffs Ranch included property in addition to the Fortress Cliffs, including land and improvements, that did not contribute significantly to the mission of Palo Duro State Park and TPWD; and,

Whereas, the staff of TPWD has worked diligently to delineate the land and improvements on the Fortress Cliffs Ranch that do not contribute significantly to the mission of the Palo Duro Canyon State Park and TPWD, and have recommended to the TPW Commission the sale of that portion; and,

Whereas, on January 27, 2010, the TPW Commission did authorize the staff of TPWD to begin the public notice and input process for the proposed sale of the land and improvements identified by staff as not contributing significantly to the mission of Palo Duro Canyon State Park and TPWD; and,

Whereas, staff of TPWD have negotiated a contract for the sale of 2,014 acres of land under terms and conditions consistent with the mission of Palo Duro Canyon State Park and TPWD, and the purposes for which the Fortress Cliffs Ranch was acquired; and,

Whereas, the 2,014-acre tract to be sold is to be encumbered by a Conservation Easement held by TPWD that will run with the land in perpetuity and assure conservation of significant natural, cultural, and aesthetic resources on the land; and,

Whereas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) finds that as required by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the Subject Tract in which such newspapers are published (Amarillo Globe-News in Potter County), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding the Easement; and,

Whereas, the 2,014-acre tract has been surveyed and appraised, and TPWD is to be paid for the land and improvements at fair market value as appraised; and,

Whereas, the Fortress Cliffs Ranch was purchased in part with federal Land and Water Conservation Funds administered by the National Park Service (NPS), and NPS has approved the sale of the property and the use of the proceeds for the acquisition of other lands that will be added to Texas State Parks; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use or taking of such land;  and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that sale of the Subject Tract is in the best interest of TPWD; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to sell the Subject Tract for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution.

Adopted and approved this 29th day of March 2012.

________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

________________________________
Antonio Falcon M.D., Member

________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

________________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

________________________________
Dick Scott, Member

________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

 

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit B

Location Map for Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Randall and Armstrong Counties


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for Palo Duro Canyon State Park


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit D

Palo Duro Canyon SP Map Showing the Fortress Cliffs Ranch


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit E

Site Map of Fortress Cliffs Ranch


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