Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Acceptance of Land Donation-Aransas County
Approximately 80 Acres at Goose Island State Park
May 24, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has identified funding for the acquisition and transfer of critical habitat for the endangered Whooping Crane adjacent to the Big Tree at Goose Island State Park (Goose Island) to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

II.      Discussion:  Goose Island was acquired in 1931 for development as a Civilian Conservation Corps park.  Over the next few years, a small tract, a little over a mile away, including an immense live oak known as “The Big Tree” was acquired, along with a 200’ wide strip of land to serve as a scenic corridor between the two sites.  Since then, the two parts of Goose Island State Park have been connected by Park Road 13 (PR 13), also known as Palmetto Street.  The five-acre Big Tree tract is surrounded by private property known as the “Big Tree Ranch.”  Long-term health of the Big Tree and the visitor experience to the Big Tree has always been at risk from the prospect of development of the Big Tree Ranch.

Big Tree Ranch has been identified as critical habitat for the endangered Whooping Crane, and cranes are seen regularly on the property and in wetlands adjacent to the property.  The ranch to the north of Big Tree Ranch is already protected by a conservation easement.  TPWD and TNC have been collaborating for several years on efforts to obtain funding for the acquisition of the Big Tree Ranch.  A possible source of funding to acquire this property has recently materialized, and TNC anticipates a closing in May or June, followed by transfer of the tract to TPWD to be managed and operated as part of Goose Island State Park.

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

“The Executive Director is authorized to accept the donation of approximately 80 acres of land adjacent to Goose Island State Park for addition to the State Park.”

    Attachments-4
  1. Exhibit A-Location Map
  2. Exhibit B-Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C-Subject Tract Map
  4. Exhibit D-Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Location Map for Goose Island State Park in Aransas County


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Goose Island State Park, 8 Miles North of Rockport


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit C

Map Showing Relation of Subject Tract to Goose Island State Park


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit D

Site Map Showing the Big Tree and Big Tree Ranch


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