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TPW Commission Delays Consideration of Devils River Land Acquisition
AUSTIN – The Conservation Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today directed state agency staff to continue exploring options to acquire land for a new state park or natural area on the Devils River while strengthening a commitment to protect the river’s sensitive resources. The move in essence delays a final vote on the project until a future commission meeting and gives the agency more time to explore alternatives in response to recent stakeholder input.
“We took this off the [Nov. 4] agenda because we’ve received great feedback from a lot of people around the state who felt the process may be moving too quickly,” said Peter Holt of San Antonio, commission chairman. “Also, several people have brought to us some very interesting alternatives. We want the staff to go forward and figure out how to make this work. We understand the concerns of landowners, paddlers and conservationists and want to make sure we take all that into consideration. On the other hand, we represent a state with about 24 million people. The Devils River Ranch is a real opportunity to add something to our park system that is second to none in terms of wildness, but at the same time would allow more people to experience this phenomenal area in appropriate ways.”
A proposal was originally on the commission agenda for both Nov. 3 and 4. But the topic was pulled from the Nov. 4 full commission agenda. Today the commission discussed the matter in executive session before hearing a public briefing.
“We will continue considering the entire range of options for conservation and recreation on the river, working with all stakeholders, with a goal to bring back to the commission a suite of alternatives to achieve both the conservation and recreational access elements of our mission,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “We’re committed to an open and transparent process and will continue to communicate our progress to all who care about this wonderful river.”
The department has compiled maps, photos, questions and answers, conservation easement documents and other resources to explain the complex project in a Devils River Land Acquisition News Roundup on its website.
Questions or comments about the proposal can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to Ted Hollingsworth, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.
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