Conservation Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., Jan. 16, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Land Transfer – Lake Rita Blanca State Park
Staff: Walt Dabney
3. Naming Historic Sites and Parks
Staff: Walt Dabney
Committee Only
4. Land Acquisition – Uvalde County (Garner)
Staff: Karen Leslie
5. Land Acquisition – Brewster County (Black Gap)
Staff: Jack Bauer
6. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Conservation Committee
November 7, 2001

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 7th day of November, 2001, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, beginning at 11:45 a.m., to-wit:


Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Chair
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Joseph Fitzsimons
Alvin L. Henry
Philip Montgomery
Donato D. Ramos
Mark E. Watson, Jr. (left)
Carol E. Dinkins (absent)

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes of the last committee meeting were approved.



Presenters: Larry McKinney and Robert Sweeney

Mr. Sweeney, legal counsel for aquatic resources, briefed the Committee on what other states have legislated or decided regarding motor vehicle access to riverbeds (particularly Montana, New Mexico and Louisiana). Montana had the most comprehensive approach with a statute that recognizes the public‘s recreational rights in riverbeds, defines it and tries to balance it with all facets of recreational use. It explicitly recognizes the private property rights of people who live alongside riverbeds, covers liability issues, and defines what you can and can’t legally do (motorized vehicle use is illegal). Mr. Sweeney pointed out that Montana is a big western state with lots of tourism and they have a strong interest in protecting their rivers.

New Mexico’s Game and Fish Commission has authority to regulate motorized vehicle use while fishing or hunting. Their regulation makes it illegal to even ride in a motorized vehicle that’s going off-road if you hold a license for a species that is in season at that time. New Mexico and Arizona have a “habitat protection law,” where the Game and Fish Commission can recommend to the land commissioner that lands be closed to motorized vehicle access, in order to protect habitat, after public hearings and public participation.

Mr. Sweeney stated that Louisiana has a third approach, with a natural and scenic rivers law. It doesn’t mention motorized vehicles specifically, but since it’s a naturally wet state, they don’t have the same issues of folks driving in dry riverbeds. However, within the scope of their law, the Legislature, after an administrative study, can designate a segment of a river as a natural and scenic river. The Legislature may then grant authority to an administrative agency to adopt a management plan for that river segment. Regulation of motor vehicle use could be an element of a management plan. There are about 50 designated river segments in Louisiana with management plans controlling the use of that segment, thereby protecting recreational, environmental and aesthetic values.

Mr. Sweeney supplied the Committee a written report covering eight of the states that were contacted, with their rules and regulations. He offered to contact more if necessary.

Dr. McKinney then briefed the Committee regarding staff meetings with stakeholders and various interest groups. He discussed the various groups staff had met with, such as landowners like the ones who had voiced their opinions at the August meeting; the four-wheel drive organizations and the off-road ones, who don’t necessarily work together; local residents; the river advisory committee; state agencies; river authorities; and the Legislature. The groups wanted to work together to address this issue, but each group had very clear goals in mind, not necessarily compatible. The landowners are concerned about the impacts on the river and the trespass issues. The four-wheel drive groups want access to carry out their activities, but in a way that promotes conservation. Local residents in the Nueces River area desire access at river crossings and traditional use of those rivers as public beaches. The agencies and authorities want to work together also, but they encompass a broad range of opinions.

Dr. McKinney stated there are two venues in which we will have the opportunity to address this issue with the Legislature. One is with the Interim Joint Committee on Water Resources, and the other is the House Recreational Resources Committee. Both committees have this issue as an interim study charge. The Commission will also be re-examining the current closure of part of the riverbed to the hunting of game, which Dr. Cooke discussed during the morning session. Dr. McKinney recommended that a task force be formed from the various interest groups to look at options and questions that were raised regarding this issue. The task force would also be in a position to work with the Legislature while they are drafting legislation.

Chairman Idsal stated that Dr. McKinney should proceed with formation of the task force and support for the legislative committees.


Committee Agenda Item No. 1

Conservation Committee
Chairman's Charges
January 2002

(This item will be an oral presentation.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Walt Dabney

Conservation Committee
Land Transfer – Lake Rita Blanca State Park
January 2002

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 7.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Walt Dabney

Conservation Committee
Naming Historic Sites and Parks
January 2002

I. DISCUSSION: The historic properties currently within the Texas State Park System will officially be renamed as required by SB 305. Staff has studied the names of TPW historic properties in response to the Sunset Commission’s mandate during the 77th Legislative session to rename “historical parks” as “historic(al) sites.” Staff has consulted with the Texas Historical Commission several times during the process and has presented findings at the first meeting of the Historic Sites Advisory Committee. As a result, the State Park Division developed guidelines to effect those name changes.


Formerly named historical parks changed to historic sites and two newly named historic sites:

Acton State Historic Site
Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site-National Museum of the Pacific War
Battleship Texas State Historic Site
Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site
Casa Navarro State Historic Site
Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site
Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site
Fannin Battleground State Historic Site
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site
Fort Lancaster State Historic Site
Fort Leaton State Historic Site
Fort McKavett State Historic Site
Fulton Mansion State Historic Site
Hueco Tanks State Historic Site
Kreische Brewery State Historic Site
Landmark Inn State Historic Site
Lipantitlan State Historic Site
Magoffin Home State Historic Site
Mission Espiritu Santo State Historic Site*
Mission Rosario State Historic Site
Monument Hill State Historic Site
Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site
Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site
San Felipe State Historic Site*
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
Sebastopol House State Historic Site
Starr Family Home State Historic Site
Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site

State parks and historic sites sharing same name:

Fort Griffin State Park and Historic Site
Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site
Sabine Pass Battleground State Park and Historic Site
Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site

State parks whose nearby/contiguous historic site has another name:

Goliad State Park
Stephen F. Austin State Park

Formerly named state historical parks:

Mission Tejas State Park
Texas State Railroad State Park

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Karen Leslie

Conservation Committee
Land Acquisition – Uvlde County (Garner)
January 2002

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 12.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Jack Bauer

Conservation Committee
Land Acquisition – Brewster County (Black Gap)
January 2002

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 13.)

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