Los Fresnos News

TPW Commission Authorizes Land Exchange for New State Park

AUSTIN— Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today authorized Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to pursue acquisition of approximately 477 acres for a new state park in exchange for approximately 43 noncontiguous acres from Boca Chica State Park.

“This is an exciting opportunity to acquire land that has been of interest to us and the conservation community for many years,” said TPWD Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D. “We look forward to working with Cameron County, city and state officials as well as the public to develop a shared vision for Bahia Grande that enhances conservation and expands recreational opportunities for all Texans, both now and in the future.”

The 477 acres offered to TPWD near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge encompass one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America, sheltering endangered species, winter fowl and other migratory birds. The land exchange would create a tenfold return and allow TPWD to acquire land and initiate planning for a new state park for public enjoyment with access for fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking and family gatherings in a rapidly developing region of Texas.

In return, most of the 43 acres proposed for trade do not connect to each other or to areas offering public access at Boca Chica State Park. These smaller, noncontiguous tracts do not provide beach access and are dotted among private properties or immediately adjacent to SpaceX’s facilities, meaning they aren’t readily available for public use and provide less cohesive wildlife habitat than offered by a connected and consistently managed tract of conservation land.

Texans have resoundingly signaled their support of more public recreational opportunities, as evidenced by their overwhelming support for the constitutional amendment passed in November to develop and acquire more state parks with the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund in the Lone Star State.

The current negotiation extends from more than a decade of cooperative work allowing TPWD and SpaceX to carry out their respective missions as neighbors.
For more information, visit tpwd.texas.gov.