Tuesday, November 06, 2007

After public criticism, Texas commissioner delays plan to sell state-owned mountains

In 1991, the Christmas Mountains Ranch was donated to the state of Texas, in hopes of preserving the 9,270-acre tract that abuts Big Bend National Park near the Rio Grande. The state pledged to keep the property (at left in a New York Times graphic) unless or until it could be transferred to the National Park Service or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Recently, however, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has sought to sell the property to private owners. Patterson and his plan have received attention from many newspapers ,including a story in the Times and a profile in the Dallas Morning News. At a news conference yesterday, Patterson said he would delay the sale for 90 days to allow the Park Service to make an offer, reports R.A. Dyer of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That offer would have to include permission for hunting, Patterson added.

Hunting is not allowed in national parks, except in very limited, special circumstances. "Conservationists called Patterson's insistence on hunting a 'poison pill' that would likely keep the park service from making a competitive offer," Dyer writes. "A Park Service spokesman welcomed the delay but agreed that any offer almost certainly would not allow hunting."

A deed provision gave the original owners the right to veto any transfer of the property to an owner other than the Park Service or Texas parks department, but Patterson said that provision is unenforceable. Regardless of who winds up owning the land, other restrictions would prevent much development. (Read more)


Anonymous said...

Its balogna -- baloney to say Nat'l Parks don't allow hunting -
they do here in Pennsylvania!

Al Cross said...

And which park(s) would that be?

Tim Wiseman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Wiseman said...

Delaware Water Gap National
Recreation Area in Pennsylvania allows hunting with some added National Park Service rules. I think the NPS spokesman was referring only to the Christmas Mountains when saying hunting would not be allowed.

Al Cross said...

The Delaware Water Gap is not a national park. It is a national recreation area, another category, where hunting is allowed. NPS policy is no hunting in parks. If the Christmas Mountains became an NRA, hunting could arguably be allowed.