Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Ad Hoc Outreach Committee

May 30, 2001

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


           6             BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 30th day  

           7   of May of 2001, there came on to be heard matters under 

           8   the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife 

           9   Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing room of 

          10   Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, 

          11   Travis County, Texas, beginning at 3:21 p.m., to wit: 

          12   APPEARANCES: 

          14   Lee M. Bass, Ft. Worth, Texas, Chairman 
               John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas 
          15   Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas 
               Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, Texas, Vice-Chair 
          16   Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas 
               Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Dallas, Texas 
          17   Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas 
               Phil Montgomery, III, Dallas, Texas 
          18   Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas 


          20   Andrew Sansom, Executive Director 
               Other personnel of the Parks and Wildlife Department 





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           1                AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE 

           2                   * * * * * * * * * * 

           3                       MAY 30, 2001 

           4                   * * * * * * * * * * 

           5                        3:21 P.M. 

           6                   * * * * * * * * * * 

           7                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Mr. Chairman, I would 

           8   like to call to order the Ad Hoc Outreach Committee and 

           9   would ask for approval of minutes from the previous 

          10   meeting. 

          11                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So moved. 

          12                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Second. 

          13                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Have a motion and a 

          14   second.  All in favor, aye.  Opposers, nay.  Motion 

          15   carries.   

          16             Mr. Sansom, Chairman's charges, please. 

          17   AGENDA ITEM NO. 1  


          19                  MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.  One of the charges 

          20   that Mr. Bass gave to this committee was to establish a 

          21   new outreach initiative that targets youth and their 

          22   families to enhance awareness and appreciation of outdoor 

          23   recreation and resource conservation. 

          24             Today I'm pleased to tell you that Item No. 1 is 

          25   a briefing by Bob Murphy, who will update you on that 

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           1   effort; that is, our efforts to establish outreach 

           2   coordinators in two major markets and our marketing effort 

           3   for the Outdoor Kids Program.   

           4             You will also see today a review of the master 

           5   plan for Sheldon Lake State Park, which of course is 

           6   specifically designed to address outreach and education 

           7   for urban youth.  Thanks, Mr. Chairman. 

           8                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Mr. Murphy. 

           9   AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 


          11                  MR. BOB MURPHY:  Mr. Chairman, members of 

          12   the Committee, my name is Bob Murphy, the Agency Outreach 

          13   Coordinator.  And today our plan is to update you on the 

          14   progress that we've made on our statewide and regional 

          15   initiatives to better coordinate our -- our outreach 

          16   efforts. 

          17             You know, as -- as we've noted in previous 

          18   briefings, one of our key strategies is to implement 

          19   regional outreach initiatives beginning in Houston and 

          20   then moving on to San Antonio and Dallas.  I will provide 

          21   more details on the current status of these efforts in a 

          22   moment.   

          23             The Regional Outreach Initiative in Houston is 

          24   well underway, and a staff team has been assembled to 

          25   represent each of the divisions with a stake in the 

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           1   planning effort.  Our original contract for services 

           2   partner was the Nature Heritage Society.  We plan to once 

           3   again work with Glen Miller and his team to reach the 

           4   citizens of Houston with our agency messages of 

           5   conservation, safe recreation and responsible and 

           6   law-abiding use of natural and cultural resources.   

           7             The hub site for the Houston Regional Outreach 

           8   Initiative is Sheldon Lake State Park.  And, once again, 

           9   by that, we mean that this is the site where we -- where 

          10   we intend to introduce the public to all of our other 

          11   sites, programs and opportunities in the region.  You will 

          12   hear next a briefing on the planning progress at Sheldon.   

          13             I am very pleased to announce that we have hired 

          14   the Houston Regional Outreach coordinator, and he has hit 

          15   the ground running.  His name is Johnnie Jones.  He is a 

          16   Houston native who has worked hard to get his fellow 

          17   Houstonians outdoors, camping, fishing, hunting and 

          18   boating in many of the Region's outdoor settings.  Johnnie 

          19   brings a businessman's approach to this job, and a passion 

          20   for sharing his joy of the outdoors with his community. 

          21             In Dallas, we have assembled a staff team 

          22   representing most of the divisions involved in outreach.  

          23   We have just conducted the second rounds of candidate 

          24   interviews for the Dallas Regional Outreach coordinator, 

          25   and I will be forwarding a selection recommendation 

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           1   immediately.  Those were completed yesterday.   

           2             Our contract for services partner was the Inner 

           3   City Fishing Institute, and we plan to continue working 

           4   this summer with Mark Cole in an effort to broaden our 

           5   reach within the Dallas community.   

           6             The hub site for Dallas will be Cedar Hill State 

           7   Park, and we will work with the regional team to develop a 

           8   Regional Outreach Plan for that area this summer.   

           9             On another note, I would like to bring to your 

          10   attention that the recent round of coop grants provided 

          11   funding to the Freshwater Anglers Association, led by 

          12   Leonard Ranne, and he will be concentrating on bringing 

          13   intercity Dallas kids to the Texas Freshwater Fishery 

          14   Center in Athens.   

          15             The San Antonio Regional Outreach Initiative has 

          16   been well supported by the Region's staff and is 

          17   developing nicely.  We've identified many potential 

          18   partners in the city to help us in our efforts there.  And 

          19   the Regional Outreach Plan will be drafted by early 

          20   August.  Government Canyon will serve as the hub site for 

          21   this initiative.   

          22             I am also pleased to announce that we have hired 

          23   the San Antonio Regional Outreach coordinator.  She is 

          24   Siri Lindholm.  She's a native San Antonian who brings her 

          25   experience from the Witte Museum and a strong local 

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           1   knowledge of the community to the position.  Siri is a 

           2   strong communicator who has worked with all of the schools 

           3   in the San Antonio region, and she's very proud to be our 

           4   representative in her home town.   

           5             Both Johnnie and Siri have begun an assessment 

           6   of the outreach programs in their regions.  They will 

           7   continue this assessment effort and lead their regional 

           8   teams through a planning process that will provide the 

           9   statewide team recommendations -- specific recommendations 

          10   for their regions.  They are also contacting our coop 

          11   grant partners and the traditional volunteer and 

          12   partnership groups to ensure that our collaborative 

          13   efforts are effective as possible.   

          14             The agency-wide Education and Outreach team met 

          15   in April at McKinney Falls, and we discussed the planning 

          16   and the action necessary to address the Sunset Commission 

          17   recommendations and to meet our budget planning 

          18   requirements.  We formed working groups to consider the 

          19   key issues that are listed here and to create 

          20   recommendations for the agency-wide team to include in an 

          21   agency outreach plan.  There was a draft of that plan put 

          22   forward in early 1999.  We're using that draft and 

          23   updating it.  We plan to forward a draft -- a final draft 

          24   of that plan to you at the August commission meeting and 

          25   then would like to seek approval of a final plan in May of 

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           1   2002.  This would then provide us a basis for an annual 

           2   planning process for outreach.  And by working with the 

           3   groups that we've identified within the agency as the most 

           4   appropriate to deal with each issue, putting a lead staff 

           5   much on each issue and involving field staff in the 

           6   creation of this plan, we're pretty confident that we can 

           7   outline solutions and bring those to you to -- for our 

           8   outreach challenges in the coming years. 

           9             I would like to close this briefing with an 

          10   unveiling of a new brand identity for our Outdoor Kids 

          11   Program.  We've had Outdoor Kids since 1993.  It's been a 

          12   building program.  We've seen many examples of the use -- 

          13   the broad use and the adaptability of this program from 

          14   the use of it by all fifth graders in the Wichita Falls 

          15   Independent School District to the development of the camp 

          16   this summer for the kids at the Texas School for The Blind 

          17   and Visually Impaired based on the journal.  We're 

          18   reaching 10,000 kids a year now, and we could easily be 

          19   reaching a million.  So it really has great potential.   

          20             To successfully take this program to the next 

          21   level, we realized we needed a more appealing brand 

          22   identity, a brand image that could appeal to kids and also 

          23   unify our kids-targeted programs and events.  So today we 

          24   want to showcase the results of a cross-divisional team 

          25   effort.  Communications Division staff, led by Tim 

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           1   Peterson, our new Creative Director, education staff and 

           2   many others from across the agency worked on this project 

           3   to create a new logo to put together a character around 

           4   which kids can rally and a tag line that invokes action on 

           5   the part of Outdoor Kids.  All three elements work 

           6   together to create a single unified brand identity for the 

           7   Outdoor Kids Program.  We believe this is going to get 

           8   staff, teachers, parents, partners and kids excited about 

           9   getting involved in our programs.   

          10             I've got some new promotional items.  These hats 

          11   are for you, for the kid in you.  These hats are for you 

          12   to have and for you to spread the word about the program.  

          13   The T-shirts that we've created will serve as recognition 

          14   items to the -- to the children that enter the Outdoor 

          15   Kids Program, and it will symbolize the recognition of 

          16   those to -- to the kids who get out and become real 

          17   outdoor kids. 

          18                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Always use a new hat. 

          19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  You can't just give us one 

          20   per Commissioner.   

          21                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Yeah, really.  

          22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  You have to give us one per 

          23   child and grandchild. 

          24                  MR. BOB MURPHY:  We can certainly oblige 

          25   you with that. 

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           1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Otherwise we can't take 

           2   these home.  

           3                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Yeah.  We're in 

           4   trouble with one hat. 

           5                  DR. MCKINNEY:  Mr. Chairman, I recognize 

           6   that fowl-up and I'm getting them delivered.  Now you all 

           7   have whatever you need.  

           8                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  This is about 

           9   T-shirts.  Okay?   

          10                  MR. BOB MURPHY:  With that, I would like to 

          11   have Johnnie Jones and Siri Lindholm stand.  They're in 

          12   the audience.  

          13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Here, here. 

          14                  (Applause.) 

          15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  With all your market 

          16   research, I'm sure when we get home, our kids will want 

          17   this.  Right? 

          18                  MR. BOB MURPHY:  So that concludes the 

          19   briefing.  I would be glad to answer any questions. 

          20                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Any questions?  Thank 

          21   you very much.   

          22             Now, the briefing for the Sheldon Master Plan, 

          23   and Laura David is going to lead that.  We have Scott and 

          24   Merrie Talley-Pope and others. 

          25   AGENDA ITEM NO. 3 

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           2                  MR. BORUFF:  Actually, obviously I'm not 

           3   Laura David.  Laura's out of town today, so I'm going to 

           4   sit in for her briefly, but only to introduce Merrie 

           5   Talley of Merrie Talley-Pope & Associates.  Mary's been 

           6   very involved in helping us put together the Sheldon Lake 

           7   Master Plan, and she's going to fill you in on that today. 

           8                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Well, I think I have the 

           9   spot on the agenda you've been looking for, so -- but I 

          10   think I have some good news to bring to you.  You've had a 

          11   mixture of serious, and I appreciate you sitting through 

          12   it and paying attention.  And we have a good presentation.   

          13             I think I've been before this committee twice 

          14   when we kicked off this process with a feasibility study 

          15   in the fall and then came back, because Commissioner Henry 

          16   and his hard work started right away with the fundraising 

          17   and said, "I need a piece to help me."  And we did an 

          18   image prospectus, and now we have completed the master 

          19   plan and I think gotten the check off today to print it, 

          20   and it will distributed to you.   

          21             I have some of the slides we used in the public 

          22   meeting, and I think the other good news on our project is 

          23   it was very well received by the community.  We had a very 

          24   good turnout and good commentary, but I think we found we 

          25   were on the right track with what we're developing at 

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           1   Sheldon as far as the community and school districts 

           2   around it.  So I'm going to go pretty quickly through some 

           3   of them, and then I think we want to focus on the master 

           4   plan and fill you in.   

           5             And let me see.  Do you remember which one 

           6   forwards us, Scott?  Okay.  Well, that was a little 

           7   quicker than I thought.  Can I go back? 

           8             A reminder, and especially for the new 

           9   Commissioners, that we -- Sheldon's value - I think one of 

          10   the big values - is how close it is to the proximity of 

          11   downtown Houston.  We're ten to 15 minutes away from the 

          12   central business district and, in fact, recently have made 

          13   contact with the University of Houston downtown.  And 

          14   Johnnie is working several others that are bringing 

          15   teachers and students that are new to Sheldon starting 

          16   this summer that didn't know about our program until we 

          17   started this process.   

          18             And we looked at some other sites, but we found 

          19   that in our study, Sheldon, at the capacity we are 

          20   targeting which is 10,000 students a year, will still 

          21   barely dent the need in this urban area.  We calculated 

          22   that that's approximately a fifth of the HISD students 

          23   that are mandated, the fifth graders, to come.  So when we 

          24   build out Sheldon, we still won't be handling all the need 

          25   there is in the Houston area. 

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           1             And this next slide shows you the 12 school 

           2   districts that are within a 15-mile radius of Sheldon that 

           3   we will be serving, one of which is HISD.  The staff there 

           4   kicked off the educational efforts three years ago, 

           5   though, with the local school districts and have -- are 

           6   turning away people now, because, you know, they don't 

           7   have enough facilities and staff, but are doing an 

           8   excellent job.  And word is spreading, and the demand is 

           9   on the rise quickly. 

          10                  MR. SANSOM:  Merrie Talley --  

          11                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Yes, sir.  

          12                  MR. SANSOM:  -- may I interrupt you for a 

          13   question? 

          14                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Yes, sir. 

          15                  MR. SANSOM:  If that program is mandated by 

          16   HISD, is -- is it -- would it come with any revenue? 

          17                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  I know that they have 

          18   some travel revenue, but I do not know about facilities or 

          19   support there.  But we could certainly check into that and 

          20   see if we can find out a little more about it.   

          21                  MR. SANSOM:  Excuse me for interrupting. 

          22                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  No, not a problem. 

          23                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Offset operations -- 

          24                  MR. SANSOM:  That's what I meant. 

          25                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Yes. 

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           1                  MR. SANSOM:  In other words, paying 

           2   contractors to do it.  Perhaps that might give us a 

           3   promise of some operational dollars. 

           4                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Well, it could, because I 

           5   know that they have contracted someone in a couple of the 

           6   city parks, Andy.  So I think it's well worth looking at 

           7   to see if that stretches our staff usage on site to meet 

           8   their needs. 

           9             This is the existing conditions map, and I won't 

          10   dwell on it.  But I think the importance on this map is if 

          11   you're not familiar with Sheldon, the red line through 

          12   this map indicates the City of Houston aqueduct that 

          13   bisects this site.  And I think that's a bonus, because it 

          14   looks like we're about to resolve the water issues and 

          15   this aqueduct will be key to that.  The challenge it 

          16   presents is that it bisects our park.  So our master plan 

          17   does address that we have two almost separate portions 

          18   that we'll need to unify, but it gives us a measure of 

          19   protection for the Education Center when we have overnight 

          20   camping and a way to contain our Education Center that's 

          21   primarily on the east.  And our recreation facilities fit 

          22   nicely on the west with the reservoir and the area north.  

          23   So I think that it has evolved to be, overall, a benefit.  

          24   But you need to be aware of the layout of Sheldon. 

          25             Briefly, the planning process.  We assessed the 

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           1   resources, looked at the curriculum they have in place and 

           2   the programming needs for the future.  And we looked at 

           3   educational and interpretative facilities that they were 

           4   going to need to continue to build a program.  And then we 

           5   assessed the recreational facilities and infrastructure.   

           6             These are just a couple of views of the lake so 

           7   that you can see the facility we're dealing with.  Sheldon 

           8   Lake has had a great deal of its watershed diverted in 

           9   previous years, and then with the drought came on some 

          10   hard times.  But the local staff has done a really good 

          11   job of maintaining and taking care of that.  But this is 

          12   where our beginning point is, and we will need some 

          13   resource development along with the Educational Center 

          14   development. 

          15             The main resource that we're building the 

          16   Education Center around is the old fish hatchery, and 

          17   there are 28 ponds.  And these ponds lay fallow for 25 

          18   years after the fish hatchery was abandoned.  And they 

          19   were left with the valves in various states of open and 

          20   closed.  And we now have ecological development that is so 

          21   diverse in these 28 ponds it is really amazing to go on 

          22   this site.  So we have this wonderful resource to build a 

          23   program around.  And then we are expanding, of course, 

          24   into the full 2700 acres.  But we had a jewel to start 

          25   with.  And, again, ten minutes from downtown. 

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           1             We assessed the resources.  And I'm not going to 

           2   go into a lot of detail.  You'll have all of these maps in 

           3   your master plan.  But we have -- parts of the park are 

           4   under agricultural lease right now.  And as we develop our 

           5   facilities, we will slowly also develop some natural 

           6   resources around those facilities where we will convert to 

           7   some prairies and areas that were previously wet that 

           8   we've kind of shifted into the agricultural mode.  We'll 

           9   allow to go back wet when a facility adjacent is 

          10   appropriate.  And we'll have some ag also on this site for 

          11   learning purposes.  So we have all the components for a 

          12   real diverse learning center. 

          13             This site plan shows the two areas that I'm 

          14   going to focus on next, which will be on the east side of 

          15   the Educational Center and on the north side -- I have my 

          16   pointer.  I think this is the educational site, and we 

          17   will enlarge and I'll show you those components.  And then 

          18   I'll follow and show you that this is shaping up to be a 

          19   recreational site.  And on that, you can see kind of a 

          20   pool.  We determined in this process, in looking at the 

          21   whole park, the lake is going to need some deepening and 

          22   some improvements.  And that is both to keep the health of 

          23   the lake as well as return fishing to this lake, because 

          24   we have now got so much sediment and it's grown up so that 

          25   we are going to need to do some improvements in 

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           1   cooperation with this educational site. 

           2             This shows you the two areas that I'm going to 

           3   enlarge to on the educational site.  And I'll go directly 

           4   to this one which shows you the fish hatcheries.  And what 

           5   we have done is we have -- the entry point where Sheldon 

           6   comes off of old Highway 90.  And we have looked at 

           7   redirecting through a naturally wooded area and coming 

           8   into an Orientation Plaza.  And from that point, we could 

           9   have groups of school children gather, and they can either 

          10   go up to the main educational building or they can be 

          11   disbursed to a number of pond stations.  And they operate 

          12   on some -- a smaller version of that system, but when we 

          13   start accommodating the numbers that this site can take, 

          14   you're going to have to bring everyone into a central 

          15   gathering point and disburse.  And I'll show you some of 

          16   our thoughts on those areas in a minute in sketches.   

          17             But then we have looked at a trail system.  We 

          18   have amphitheaters that would have an overlook over the 

          19   reservoir into the lake and, in the future, a bridge and 

          20   canoe launch so that we could actually canoe up to the 

          21   north section.  We're looking at, when we do the lake 

          22   improvements, an island in the lake.  So that could be 

          23   another destination.   

          24             We then expanded, and our parking is contiguous 

          25   to this main building.  These are some of the concepts 

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           1   that we see as far as a bus drop-off and having exhibit 

           2   space, having restrooms, lockers when the school groups 

           3   come in and disbursing from this Orientation Plaza.   

           4             The main building would house three classrooms, 

           5   one of them being a media room surrounded.  We've placed 

           6   it in an area that is naturally wet, and we would like to 

           7   develop that further into some habitat around this main 

           8   building.  It would also include staff offices and have 

           9   space.  We have found there's a huge need around Houston 

          10   to have spaces where groups can rent space or use them for 

          11   small conferences or company meetings or non-profit 

          12   organizations.  So we see that as a dual use and perhaps 

          13   revenue opportunity along with the Education Center. 

          14             This is the overlook deck I just pointed out on 

          15   the sketch that we see canoe storage and -- and 

          16   maintenance in a way below, but that you -- your trail 

          17   would come through three different habitats, through some 

          18   woods and the -- and the prairie.  But when you get up and 

          19   you look at the lake, it's a wonderful view to have any 

          20   kind of elevation.  And this would be our takeoff point 

          21   for the bridge that would go across the aqueduct. 

          22             And this is just an example of some of the 

          23   sketches we did in working out these concepts as far as 

          24   how we would work these areas to be educational and have 

          25   different marsh habitats and different depths for 

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           1   different -- for varying plant materials and also have 

           2   some opportunities for the clean water theme that we've 

           3   looked at in this park, where you have plant materials 

           4   that are actually pulling toxins out of your water.   

           5             This is farther to the north from the entry 

           6   drive.  And you look at -- we have this wooded lot that 

           7   comes out, and this is where we want to develop our 

           8   camping.  And you can see the cabins in this area.  And 

           9   then we also have some tent -- some platform tents, 

          10   because we have found that there is a -- a great desire to 

          11   have an overnight program.  And we found in some other 

          12   Education Centers that they first introduced the students 

          13   with a day program, and then you can move up to coming for 

          14   a two- or three-day program and then an immersion where 

          15   you can actually get to camp and stay three days and two 

          16   nights.  And for the urban child, what has happened is the 

          17   first day they come sometimes they're pretty intimidated 

          18   by this environment.  But after they've spent a day, 

          19   they've kind of earned their wings, and I think Outdoor 

          20   Kids that Bob was talking about does this, too, introduces 

          21   them and brings a program to them where they -- they earn 

          22   their way into getting to do more on site.  So we have 

          23   provided those camping opportunities, and this wooded area 

          24   has several natural zones.  We found a beautiful lake that 

          25   has some geological formations.  We have a pimple mound 

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           1   with a 30-inch oak in the middle of it and some natural 

           2   wetlands.  So we have discovered a lot of things on this 

           3   site as we've done this master plan, and it's very 

           4   exciting.   

           5             This is a sketch of the types of areas that we 

           6   envision.  The cabins could be used for the weekends you 

           7   have teacher training, but I think the children are 

           8   generally going to want to do the platform tents and be in 

           9   smaller groups.  But we have -- we have shower and 

          10   bathroom facilities planned, as well.   

          11             You know, let me go back to this.  Also, there 

          12   is an area up along the wooded buffer that is now used.  

          13   And one of the big groups that came to our public meeting 

          14   was the Boy Scout group that has used this park 

          15   traditionally.  And they wanted to make sure that we still 

          16   had an area for primitive camping, and Rob responded that 

          17   absolutely.  And we do have that planned where they have 

          18   access to water and bath houses if they want.  If they 

          19   don't, we have an area designated for that.  But it was 

          20   nice that we had users that have been on site for -- I 

          21   think they've been using it for about 12 years, wanting to 

          22   continue and come back. 

          23             Briefly, this is -- I'm showing you -- we'll 

          24   look at the recreational site next.  And our thinking was 

          25   that currently there are -- there's a boat ramp on this 

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           1   northwest end and the south end, but this area is 

           2   unsecured.  It's difficult to get into.  So we are looking 

           3   at a -- a single point and doing some fencing and bringing 

           4   the boating in and providing a new pier and -- and fishing 

           5   pier that we do not have anywhere on this lake.  The one I 

           6   showed you in the earlier pictures is in pretty ill-repair 

           7   and probably going to have to be replaced soon.   

           8             And this takes us also into the heart of an area 

           9   that has an existing levy, and there's great birding in 

          10   here, and we envision some bird blinds as well as the 

          11   fishing. 

          12             Now, let me give you a little bit closer.  I 

          13   think you can see that we're looking at -- at boat ramp 

          14   and boat parking and then a long fishing pier that's in 

          15   this marsh area that's developed along this lake.  And the 

          16   birding pier would go along the levy and ultimately 

          17   connect back over to the east side.  And up -- currently, 

          18   we have offices and the -- the park superintendent's 

          19   residence, and we have what they call the belly pond.  And 

          20   this would be a perfect place for canoe launching where 

          21   you could weave your canoe down and come into the 

          22   mainstream of the lake and have a little bit of an 

          23   adventuresome trip to get -- another direction to get to 

          24   the lake. 

          25             One of our challenges was to phase the 

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           1   development.  And after going back and forth, we decided 

           2   that it was very important in Phase 1 of the educational 

           3   site to provide the framework for the remaining elements.  

           4   So Phase 1 is the heaviest phase at about five-and-a-half 

           5   to six million dollars.  And it's going to be the 

           6   Orientation Plaza and main building.  But primarily it is 

           7   all your roads and your infrastructure of utilities coming 

           8   in.  And once we have done Phase 1, we have shown you 

           9   Phases 2 through 5 here.  But they can be billed out by 

          10   providing the infrastructure in Phase 1.  The remaining 

          11   phases total about another four million.  But you can look 

          12   at if a private donor comes forth on cabins, we can do 

          13   those next.  So we felt it was important in the Phase 1 to 

          14   provide your framework and your infrastructure.  And then 

          15   the remaining phases can be built out of -- in the 

          16   Education Center in any manner in which the program 

          17   requires or the donors would come forth. 

          18             Then we have identified recreational amenities 

          19   and resource development.  We're back to the master plan.  

          20   I think if I had anything to say about Sheldon, it's been 

          21   great to work on this master plan.  And I think its 

          22   importance is that it capsulizes components and the 

          23   mission of the more traditional parks, and then it leads 

          24   the way as a new type park that introduces urban dwellers 

          25   to the natural environment and educates its citizens about 

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           1   the importance of its natural environment.   

           2             And here we find ourselves in Houston's back 

           3   yards with the children coming and learning about Sheldon 

           4   and then a recreational site that is a place for them to 

           5   bring their families back to and share what they've 

           6   learned and enjoy the outdoors.  So we've tried to mix 

           7   those two missions of education and an adventuresome and 

           8   enjoyable park.   

           9             And I'll be glad to answer any -- oh, I have one 

          10   piece of news hot off the press.  Rob Comstock, the park 

          11   superintendent, is here today.  Told me as of yesterday's 

          12   program they had served the same number of students that 

          13   they had all of last year through their education program.  

          14   They are fully booked for the summer.  So they're going to 

          15   show about a 24 percent increase in growth.  They're at 

          16   about max for facilities and staff, but that's great news 

          17   because they had a few holes to fill, and they filled them 

          18   this year.  And so we already know that we have another 

          19   growth spurt. 

          20             Oh, well, and -- I don't know.  I don't want to 

          21   steal Andy's thunder.  We met on site with a 

          22   representative from Texas Audubon, and he came away loving 

          23   it and I think wrote a pretty glowing letter to Mr. Sansom 

          24   and said, "Tell me how to frame the agreement.  We want to 

          25   do the main building and Education Center with you."  So 

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           1   that was pretty exciting.  Everybody we talk to and share 

           2   this with gets real excited in Houston.  We've had nothing 

           3   like this.  It truly is a prototype, and it's real 

           4   exciting to work on it.  So I can't -- 

           5                  MR. SANSOM:  And in addition, there are -- 

           6   there are -- there is funding in the upcoming bond issue 

           7   for Sheldon, as well. 

           8                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I was going to ask 

           9   Andy, would you go into a little detail on that and what's 

          10   there -- 

          11                  MR. SANSOM:  It's 2.5 million per -- and -- 

          12   and -- and the promise of more as that bond issue 

          13   continues to -- to evolve over the years. 

          14                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  When we met before 

          15   Senate Finance, we discovered that there -- there were 

          16   three members from Houston on the Senate Finance Committee 

          17   and one member from Pasadena, which is in the county. 

          18                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  What a 

          19   coincidence. 

          20                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Andy took me by a 

          21   visit with the Lieutenant Government, excuse me, and with 

          22   another representative, who's on the Conference 

          23   Committee -- two representatives on the Conference 

          24   Committee to talk about this project, and they were just 

          25   really excited about it.   

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           1             And Rodney Ellis -- Senator Rodney Ellis, who 

           2   chairs the Finance -- Senate Finance called me a couple 

           3   days ago, and he wants to get together with me in a couple 

           4   weeks just to talk about this and some other kinds of 

           5   development.  They are very excited about this.   

           6             When the Chairman gave us this job and this 

           7   challenge, he promised, along with our former Finance 

           8   Chairman, to put the resources behind it to get it 

           9   started.   

          10             And where is Rob Comstock?  I know he's here.  

          11   Stand up, Rob.  This is the superintendent out at Sheldon.  

          12   We -- these guys have done a tremendous job of getting us 

          13   where we are today.   

          14             I know there is a question about money.  John 

          15   just asked me, "What the hell is this going to cost?"  

          16   We -- we encourage not only by the -- by the 2.5 million 

          17   but by the additional funds that are likely to get the 

          18   flow in the future with regard to this.  But I've been -- 

          19   been very encouraged everywhere we've taken this.  When we 

          20   went to the Recreation Committee of the Houston -- Greater 

          21   Houston Partnership, they were as excited about this 

          22   project as anything I've ever seen, and promised to do all 

          23   they could to assist in raising the money to support it. 

          24             I've talked to, oh, at least a dozen members 

          25   from the philanthropic communities, people who have 

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           1   foundations or actively involved in foundations, and they 

           2   want to see the proposal and the plan and indicated 

           3   excitement about it, as well.  So I don't know how much 

           4   money we're going to raise, but we're going to raise quite 

           5   a bit of money.  I might even contact some of you about a 

           6   little about of money.  Who knows?  We're going to get 

           7   this money.  It's going to be a prototype -- 

           8                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Well, I'm now giving 

           9   mine to Eagle Lake. 

          10                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I'm convinced it's 

          11   just the beginning, what we do in Houston.  I've got a 

          12   question from the Commissioner - it's a little early - 

          13   about the distance.  It's 15 miles from downtown Houston.  

          14   It's only a mile-and-a-half from the city limits.  City 

          15   limits are moving out there, you know, all the time.  So 

          16   it's all of whether we talk about with regard to making 

          17   facilities available to the urban population.  And I 

          18   haven't talked to anybody that's not excited about it.   

          19             I would like to thank these guys.  We're going 

          20   to be meeting next week, week after next, to further 

          21   refine this, to develop it and moving toward developing a 

          22   document that we can take to the foundation community 

          23   particularly that will aid them in assisting us. 

          24             In that regard, I would also like to say that 

          25   the focus of -- of Sheldon is something that was developed 

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           1   almost exclusively by staff with some input from some of 

           2   us through a series of meetings held on site as well as 

           3   meetings in Andy's office and Scott's and other places and 

           4   all.  And I think I learned early on that the best thing 

           5   we could do was discuss a concept and said, "You guys are 

           6   the professionals.  Now you go and decide what's the best 

           7   way to do it."  And I would like to thank them for coming 

           8   forward with a tremendous plan that I believe we can sell.   

           9             So are there any questions that any of you have 

          10   of them? 

          11                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Good job. 

          12                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Great job. 

          13                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Oh, thank you. 

          14                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Thank you.  We'll look 

          15   forward to moving forward with it. 

          16                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  Okay. 

          17                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  I can tell you, 

          18   as a Boy Scout leader, make those Boy Scouts work. 

          19                  MS. TALLEY-POPE:  I think they've already 

          20   put them to work on a few projects, and we have some more 

          21   in mind. 

          22                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Use those Boy 

          23   Scouts. 

          24                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I would like to 

          25   just -- before we close out on the committee, to speak 

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           1   with you just for a moment about Expo.  That's coming up 

           2   the first week in October.  And we've asked mister -- 

           3   Mr. Expo to come forward and just give you a brief amount 

           4   of information about it, because we're asking for your 

           5   help not only in supporting it, but sponsoring it and 

           6   assisting us in getting kids to it.   

           7             As Ernie knows, every Chairman is sort of given 

           8   the opportunity to put his own mark on it, if you will.  

           9   And we decided this time that it's going to be Outreach.  

          10   Not only -- and just -- you'll see here, most of the kids 

          11   come from this general area.  We're trying to get kids 

          12   from all around the state here, particularly from Dallas 

          13   and Fort Worth, from San Antonio, from some of the smaller 

          14   communities around Texas.  And as Lydia said in her 

          15   opening presentation before the Advisory Committee, we 

          16   want it to look more like Texas.  And that's a part of 

          17   what we're about.   

          18             So I'm going to ask you to help me to get off 

          19   this spot that I've committed to in making this -- 

          20   something like this.  So, Ernie, would you please just 

          21   tell them a little bit about where we are -- 

          22                  ERNIE GAMMAGE:  Sure. 

          23                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  -- and how they can 

          24   assist. 

          25                  ERNIE GAMMAGE:  I'm Ernie Gammage.  I'm the 

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           1   Director of the Texas Wildlife Expo.  And this is our 

           2   tenth annual Expo.  You've got before you our sponsor 

           3   materials that maybe you've already got a copy of it, but 

           4   it never hurts to put another one in your hand.   

           5             We actually started, before the ninth annual 

           6   Expo was over, selecting colors, a tag line, which is "Ten 

           7   Great Years in the Great Outdoors," and, of course, our 

           8   Chairman, who is Commissioner Al Henry.   

           9             Mr. Henry put together a great advisory board, 

          10   which has met once.  We will meet again this Friday.  And 

          11   I would just like to give you a quick update on where our 

          12   planning has taken us so far.   

          13             As we looked at the event which hosted almost 

          14   47,000 Texans last year, we wondered what we could do that 

          15   would affect everybody that came through the grounds.  And 

          16   there were two things:  One, we could put another road in 

          17   so that people could actually get into the grounds more 

          18   easily and then, secondly, give it a brand-new look.  

          19   About 50 percent of the people that come to Expo every 

          20   year have been to at least one, possibly two or three 

          21   other Expos.  So we wanted to give them a new look of the 

          22   event and a new entrance.  

          23             New activities on site are an outdoor kids 

          24   challenge, which will, through participation and a variety 

          25   of outdoor activities, give chance -- kids a chance to win 

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           1   a lifetime hunting or fishing license.  We're going to be 

           2   holding some Lone Star Legacy raffles to put some money 

           3   into that account.  We have been working for a couple 

           4   years on something called a GPS Satellite Challenge, which 

           5   will introduce that technology and a lot of fun to Texans.                 

           6             The Wildlife Division is working on a new series 

           7   of presentations that really focus more on the cake and 

           8   not so much on the eggs, butter and milk of what they do.  

           9   And we will have the second trail ride that will actually 

          10   end Friday night in front of the banquet at the Expo.  It 

          11   should be very exciting.   

          12             As Mr. Henry said, we have re-doubled our 

          13   efforts regarding Outreach, and we've got some great 

          14   things that we're doing this year.  And I won't bore you 

          15   with the details.  But we really anticipate Expo looking 

          16   as -- as Lydia said, much more like Texas.   

          17             I think something that's significant about this 

          18   event, as we go into our tenth year, is that it has become 

          19   a model for other agencies similar to ours from around the 

          20   state.  Last year we had representatives from Alabama, 

          21   from Michigan and Wyoming that were here.  This year we 

          22   anticipate those folks as well as people from Virginia, 

          23   New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Colorado to come down here 

          24   and see how we do what we do.  They can then take this 

          25   event back and tailor it.  And we'll hope that you'll have 

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           1   an opportunity to meet some of your peers and folks like 

           2   Andy as they come down from other states to visit with us.             

           3             The dates of the Expo this year are the 5th of 

           4   October.  That's Friday.  That is our Texas Conservation 

           5   Banquet.  It's the largest single gathering of folks in 

           6   the conservation arena in the State of Texas, and we hope 

           7   that you'll be there, support the event.  We have some 

           8   fun, we have some surprises, and it's going to be quite 

           9   different from anything that we've done.   

          10             The actual two-day Expo where we anticipate 

          11   crowds, if the weather's nice, maybe 50,000 people, will 

          12   be that Saturday and Sunday, October 6th and 7th.  And if 

          13   you have never spent the day at Expo, we hope that you 

          14   will come and -- and do that.  There is -- in fact, you 

          15   can spend two days at Expo and still not see everything 

          16   and do everything that we do there.   

          17             Folks ask me why do we do this event.  And we do 

          18   it, No. 1, because it gives us an opportunity as an agency 

          19   to beta test our message, to beta test programs, 

          20   presentations, to try things out that we can use in the 

          21   field and other places around the state.  It also allows 

          22   us to stand up at one single place at one single time and 

          23   say who we are and this is what we do.   

          24             I hope that you'll want to become a part of this 

          25   event this year, because it really is going to be 

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           1   something special, and we'll have folks here from all of 

           2   the country to help celebrate it. 

           3                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Thank you, Ernie.  

           4   When the Chairman asked me to take on this job it scared 

           5   the hell out of me.  I only took it because Ernie Angelo 

           6   chaired it so well last year, and promised that he would 

           7   be looking over my shoulder the entire time.  But I'm 

           8   going to ask you to do something to help us, just as we 

           9   asked the Advisory Committee to assist.  

          10             When we talk about "outreach", we aren't just 

          11   talking about outreach to Houston and Dallas and Fort 

          12   Worth, but we're talking about outreach to the Tylers and 

          13   the Lufkins and the Nacogdoches' in east Texas and the 

          14   small communities in central and west Texas, where kids 

          15   are urbanized now and have little or no knowledge of 

          16   outdoors.   

          17             And we're asking our members to assist to the 

          18   extent possible through corporate sponsorships, personal 

          19   sponsorships, personal invitations, et cetera, to bring 

          20   kids from these areas and assist in the development of 

          21   kids.  And we have all kind of plans afoot.  I know, for 

          22   example, of one company in Houston that's going to just 

          23   hire two buses and send kids here with money for lunches 

          24   and things to come in to see it.  I know of other 

          25   instances where arrangements are being made to bring kids 

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           1   with disabilities here.   

           2             I was in St. Louis late last week and happened 

           3   to your friend, Augie Bush.  And John Jacobson who was 

           4   over there permit programs with regard to these kinds of 

           5   activities, doing some special things with the brewery in 

           6   Houston to assist in getting a couple of hundred kids from 

           7   the Social Service agencies in Houston in here.  And we're 

           8   hoping that this picks up and develops all along.  So if 

           9   you can help us with this, it will be to everybody's 

          10   benefit.  We're excited about it.  And, Ernie, keep 

          11   looking over the shoulder.  We'll try to get there.   

          12             And any of you have any questions whatsoever, 

          13   call Ernie Gammage.  He has the answers.   

          14             So that's all I have, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you. 

          15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Good.  Thanks, Ernie. 

          16                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you. 

          17                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Put the arm on us. 

          18                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Always. 

          19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Good. 

          20             Mr. Sansom, do we have any other business we 

          21   need to do today at this venue? 

          22                  MR. SANSOM:  Not at this venue.  But I 

          23   would remind everyone that our Lone Star Land Stewards 

          24   Award Banquet begins at 6:00 at the Alumni Center at the 

          25   University of Texas.   

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           1                  MR. SANSOM:  We need to be there about 

           2   5:30. 

           3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  By 5:00, 5:30.  Is 

           4   that what -- 

           5                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  5:15 is what they 

           6   told us. 

           7                  MR. SANSOM:  All right. 

           8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Game Warden time. 

           9                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So we don't need to 

          10   be there until 5:30. 

          11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I would be there at 5:15 if 

          12   I didn't want Craig mad at me.  5:15, that gives us an 

          13   hour.   

          14             We stand adjourned.  Thank you all very much, 

          15   and thank you staff.  Productive day.   

          16                  (Concluded at 4:10.) 










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           1   STATE OF TEXAS  ) 

           2   COUNTY OF TRAVIS) 

           3                 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATION 

           4             I, Rhonda Howard, Certified Shorthand Reporter in 

           5   and for the State of Texas, hereby certify that on May 30, 

           6   2000, I was present at the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

           7   Commission for committee meetings and that this is a true 

           8   and complete transcript of the proceedings. 

           9            I further certify that the proceedings were put 

          10   into writing by myself with the help of Lori Estrada of 


          12             I further certify that I am neither counsel for,  

          13   related to, nor employed by any of the parties or 

          14   attorneys in the action in which this proceeding was 

          15   taken, and further that I am not financially or otherwise 

          16   interested in the outcome of the action. 

          17             Certified to by me, this 28th day of June,  

          18   2001. 

          19                     _____________________________________ 

          20                       ____________________________ 
                                   RHONDA HOWARD, Texas CSR No. 4136 
          21                       Expiration Date 12/31/02 
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