Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

January 23, 2003

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

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 23rd day of January, 2003, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, beginning at 9:04 a.m. to wit:





CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Good morning. And Happy New Year to everyone. The meeting is called to order. Before proceeding with any business, I believe that Mr. Cook has a statement to make.

MR. COOK: Thank you, Chairman, Commissioners. Good morning. My name is Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A public notice of this meeting, containing all items on the proposed agenda, has been filed in the office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 of the Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Law. I would like for this action to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

So that everyone will have a chance to address the Commission in an orderly fashion, the following ground rules will be followed. The Chairman is in charge of this meeting. And by law, it is her duty to preserve order, direct the order of this hearing, and recognize persons to be heard. I will be assisting the Chairman today as Sergeant-at-Arms.

We have sign-up cards outside at the table for everyone who wishes to speak. If you would like to speak on one of our action items, one of the items that the Commission is addressing today, you need to sign up on those cards and turn them into us. The Chairman will call the names from those cards, one at a time.

Each person will be allowed to speak from the podium, one at a time. When your name is called, please come to the podium, state your name and who you represent, if anyone other than yourself. We’ll probably also call  — the Chairman will kind of  — the on-deck person, who’s going to be up next to be prepared to come up.

State your position on the agenda item under consideration and add supporting facts that will help the Commission understand your concerns. Please limit your remarks to the specific agenda item under consideration.

Each person who wants to address the Commission will have three minutes to speak. I will keep track of the time and notify you when your three minutes are up, on this handy dandy little traffic light thing here, kind of like The Gong Show. When your time is up, please resume your seat so that others may speak.

Your time may be extended if a Commissioner has a question for you. If the Commissioners ask questions or discuss something among themselves, I will not be counted against you.

Statements which are merely argumentative or critical of others will not be tolerated. There is a microphone at the podium so it is not necessary to raise your voice. I also ask that you show proper respect for the Commissioners, as well as other members of the audience. You will not be recognized out of turn, by raising your hand or interrupting others. Disruptive or offensive behavior will be grounds for immediate ejection from the meeting.

If you would like to submit written materials to the Commission, please give them to Ms. Lori Estrada, or Michelle, who is seated to my right. They will pass those written materials on to the Commission.

Thank you, Chairman.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Mr. Cook.

Next is the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, which have already been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?



CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A motion by Commissioner Ramos, seconded by Commissioner Henry. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


Next is the acceptance of the gifts, which has also been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?



CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion by  — what’s your name  — Angelo? Second by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


Donations of $500 or More
Donor,  Description, Purpose of Donation

  1. Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin Coalition, CASH, Dia Del Rio: T-shirts and supplies for event
  2. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  3. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  4. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  5. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  6. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  7. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  8. El Paso Production Oil and Gas Co., CASH, Artificial Reef Program
  9. Devris Painting Company, Paint, Paint for deck of Battleship Texas
  10. Texas Wildlife Association, Ammunition, Youth shooting sports event on the Chaparral WMA
  11. The J. P. Morgan Chase Foundation, CASH, Fence materials at San Jacinto SHS
  12. Dallas Safari Club, CASH, Construct duck blind
  13. Chamber of Commerce Tourism, CASH, Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail sponsorship
  14. Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas, CASH, Admiral Nimitz State Park Museum
  15. Friends of the Granbury Nature Center, Trail signs and ID books, Texas Master Naturalist Program
  16. East Bosque Wildlife Mgmt. Assoc., CASH, Mechanical deer
  17. Ed Finley, Display box for state record desert bighorn sheep head , Desert Bighorn Sheep Project
  18. Big Bend Telephone Company, Reconstruct approximately 2 miles of road; replace culverts required in easement to access Elephant Mountain WMA, Elephant Mountain WMA Operations
  19. Texas Bighorn Society, Provide aviation fuel trailer to TPWD to facilitate desert bighorn sheep surveys conducted by helicopter, Desert Bighorn Sheep Project

TOTAL:  $1,438,738

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Next are the service awards.

Mr. Cook, would you please make the presentations?

MR. COOK: Thank you, Chairman.

We have not a large number of service awards this morning, but some folks that I really am proud of and that I think deserve special recognition. We’ve got seven folks here today to see their service awards  — no retirements, thank goodness, today.

All seven of these folks have been with this agency 30 years. Now, that’s a lifetime. And I can tell you that each and every one of them have given their careers and, sometimes, more time than they should have, to the service with this agency.

First, we want to recognize Billy Dodd, Game Warden V. He’s in the Law Enforcement division in Daingerfield, Texas. Billy graduated from the 28th Texas Game Warden Training Academy at Texas A&M, in December 1972. His duty station has been in Morris County, where he serves today. With 30 years of service, Billy Dodd.


MR. DODD: Thank you, ma’am.

MR. COOK: Thank you, Billy.

MR. DODD: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: Next, with 30 years of service, Gary E. Homerstad. Gary is a Technical Guidance Biologist, in the Wildlife Division in Victoria, Texas. Gary began his career with TPWD at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area  — and my note here says  — and initially worked under some fellow by the name of Bob Cook, who was area manager at the time.

His career took him to San Angelo, where he worked as a Wildlife Biologist in the Permian Basin Regulatory District. He later became the area manager on the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. The decade of the ’80s found Gary assigned to the Las Palomas Wildlife Area Management units in the Rio Grande Valley. While in the Valley, he assisted the South Texas Regulatory District, and worked with numerous landowners in developing wildlife management plans.

For the past twelve years, Gary has lived in Victoria and has worked as a Technical Guidance Biologist in south and south central Texas. His most gratifying accomplishment has been working to organize and promote the cooperative concept of wildlife management that has resulted in the formation of the Texas Organization of Wildlife Management Association. With 30 years of service, Gary Homerstad.


MR. COOK: If I’d have known then, what I know now. Maybe if both of us would have known?

MR. HOMERSTAD: Thank you.


MR. COOK: Next, with 30 years of service in our Law Enforcement Division, Roy F. Lawrence, the Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Division. Roy began his employment with TPWD in August 1972, as a cadet in the 28th Texas Game Warden Academy at Texas A&M University. His first duty station was Nueces County, where he worked the Laguna Madre, and Kleberg, and Kenedy counties.

In 1975, he transferred to Refugio County, and worked there until 1987, when he promoted to District Supervisor over the Rockport District, and later transferred to the Temple District. In 1993, Roy was promoted to the Region X Commander position in Corpus Christi. In 1996, he was promoted to his current position as Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Division, here in Austin.

He has previously been nominated as a Shikar-Safari officer of the year, and was a recipient of the southeastern officer of the year and the coastal conservation officer of the year. Roy Lawrence in the Law Enforcement Division, 30 years of service.


MR. LAWRENCE: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: Thank you.


MR. COOK: Next, William W. McClendon, in the Law Enforcement Division, Orange Grove, Texas. Bill is a Game Warden V with 30 years of service. He was a graduate of the 29th Texas Game Warden Academy at Texas A&M. His duty stations include Kleberg, Nueces, and Jim Wells County. With 30 years of service, Bill McClendon.


MR. McCLENDON: Thank you, Commissioners.

MR. COOK: Congratulations.

MR. McCLENDON: Thank you, Bob.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Congratulations.


MR. COOK: Billie L. Minson, in the Inland Fisheries Division is an Environmental Specialist III at Tyler, Texas. Bill completed a TPWD Game Warden Training Academy at College Station, Texas, in the spring of 1973, and served as a game warden in Matagorda County.

In January 1974, he transferred to the Inland Fisheries Division and served as a Fisheries Technician II for three years in Marshall, on the Inland Fisheries District 3-A. In March 1977, he transferred to District 3-C, in Tyler, where he later promoted to Technician III. He is a certified scuba diver and has used this training in cove rotenone surveys, vegetation, habitat improvement, and fish reef monitoring.

Bill used his artistic talent to create paintings for displays and drawings, diagrams, maps and graphics for reports, published papers, and TPWD brochures. Among Bill’s accomplishments is that he was instrumental in adapting a 20-foot steel frame swimming pool into an efficient portable kids’ fishing pool, which has been used for years at outdoor events and still annually at our Expo and at KidFish events around the state.

Bill was instrumental in constructing and designing plans for present electrofishing units, incorporating Smith-Root electrofishers. He designed and fabricated a swivel clutch bracket for electrofisher booms, which have been used as a standard for several other fisheries electrofishing boats.

He currently serves in Tyler, Texas  — with 30 years of service, Bill Minson.


MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

MR. MINSON: Thank you.


MR. COOK: Next, from the State Parks Division  — and close by as a matter of fact  — Ned Ochs, Manager I, State Parks Division, Austin, Texas, with 30 years of service. Ned graduated from Texas A&M University and went to work out of state. However, he came back to Texas and began his career as an Assistant Manager at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in December 1972. He was Park Manager at Bastrop State Park for 18 years. For the past twelve years, he has served as a Complex Manager for McKinney Falls State Park and Bright Leaf State Natural Area. With 30 years of service, Ned Ochs.


MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

MR. OCHS: Thank you.


MR. COOK: John M. Reagan, Program Specialist V, Wildlife Division, Wimberley, Texas, with 30 years of service. Mike began working with TPWD in 1972, as a Wildlife Technician in Lufkin. He became a Regulatory Wildlife Biologist in the Edwards Plateau District in 1973.

Between 1983 and 1993, Mike served as the Assistant White-tailed Deer Program Leader, here in the Austin Headquarters. In 1993  — according to this report here  — he escaped Austin and became a Technical Guidance Biologist for the central and eastern Edwards Plateau, where he currently serves and does us a great job. With 30 years of service, Mike Reagan.


MR. COOK: Congratulations, Mike.

MR. REAGAN: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: You haven’t aged a bit.


MR. COOK: That concludes our service awards. Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: At this time, I’d like to inform the audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting. However, if anyone wishes to leave, now would be an appropriate time to do so. Please be reminded to move away from the doorway as you are leaving so as to let everyone through the doorway.


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: The first order of business is the approval of the agenda which we have before us. Please note that agenda item number ten, a briefing on the Seagrass Task Force updated has been added to the published agenda.

Is there a motion for approval?




(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


This brings us to  — agenda item number two is an action item, our local park funding.

Mr. Hogsett, will you please make your presentation?

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, Madame Chairman, members of the Commission. I’m Tim Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program in the State Parks Division. Agenda item number two is our recommendations to you for funding from the Texas Recreation Parks account, for the $500,000 maximum matching fund grants for local parks for outdoor recreation facilities.

We received 43 applications for this review, as of the July 31, 2002, deadline, requesting a little bit over $18 million. All the applications have been scored, rank ordered, in Exhibit A. And we conducted site visits of all 43 sites. We’re recommending this morning the approval of the top 43 applications, as rank ordered and score ordered. And our recommendation to you this morning is that funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $6,550,817 is approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B.

I’ll be glad to answer any questions. I’m sure you probably have some testimony.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any questions or comments from the Commission?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We do have some folks that would like to comment. I’ll read the two names. And the first name comes on up. And the second name, be prepared to come up.

The first person speaking is Chuck Hopson from Jacksonville. Welcome.

And Sally Summerhays.

MR. HOPSON: Chairman, members, I’m Chuck Hopson, State Representative from District 11 in East Texas. I’m coming to you today to bring you greetings from the City of Jacksonville and for our Transportation Commissioner Robert Nichols, who is unable to be here at this time. So I’m speaking for him.

I simply wanted to tell you how important the Nichols Green Park is for the City of Jacksonville. We’re in our third phase of production on this park. The Commission has generously supported us on two other phases. This will bring the completion of this park to the City of Jacksonville.

Commissioner Robert Nichols has donated 102 acres to this park already. He’s donating another 39 acres so that we can complete phase 3. This one has wetlands, and tracts, and picnic tables, and frisbee parks. And it will be a great, great asset to the City of Jacksonville.

With this latest grant, we’ll be able to finalize our phase 3 and we will have a park that the people of Texas will be proud of. And I would fully support the funding for the Nichols Park, phase 3.

Thank you very much for your time.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you for coming. And send my personal regards to Mr. Nichols.

MR. HOPSON: I will. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Sally Summerhays and then Roy Rumsey.

MS. SUMMERHAYS: I’m personally here to just answer any questions that you might have. I represent Hamilton EDC.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any questions or comments of Ms. Summerhays from the Commission?

(No response.)


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thanks for coming.

Roy Rumsey and Tom Adams.

MR. RUMSEY: Good morning, Madame Chairman and Commission members. As mayor of Hamilton, Texas, whose logo is "What a Hometown Should Be," I’m honored to support the grant proposal before you that will build a new 40-acre family recreation park for our citizens and Percy [phonetic] Partnership that includes the city council, Hamilton County Commissioners Court, Hamilton Independent School District, Hamilton Hospital District, Hamilton Economic Development Corporation, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, many other local organizations, businesses, parents, and children has come together and implement the new park.

The need is there. A need analysis in the 2000 City of Hamilton master park plan found only one softball field in the city that must be used for boys and girls softball, Little League, and T-ball. The outfield is marked off for two soccer fields. There were more than 90 ball games scheduled on that field last summer.

A community assessment project last May, involving more than 200 local residents, identified a new recreation park, activity complex as one of the highest priority items. Athletics for all ages is rapidly growing. Citizens play baseball, softball, T-ball, soccer, flag and pad football that all require fields. Outdoor exercise has become more popular in the last few years, evidenced by the increased number of folks who walk around the track at the football field and up and down our city streets on a daily basis.

And centrally located, Hamilton is a natural for tournaments and regional sport events that are currently limited because of the few facilities. It has been three years now since Hamilton EDC and the city council recognized the need for a new park. The city appointed a parks, and resource  — and recreation board, made up of about two dozen young adults, to figure out what we needed, where it ought to be, and how to go about getting it. And they did.

Last year, Hamilton submitted its proposal for the first time. It didn’t make the cut. So this year, that same group came back together and improved the proposal. They organized the effort to form partnerships, recruit labor and equipment, donations, requests, and received cash commitments, and even found a way to move a historic bridge to the new park.

Speaking of the old bridge, Hamilton County has 15 of them. And they’re more than 100 years old. The Leon River Bridge was built by King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio, for Hamilton County in 1884. It is the largest one of five remaining metal bow string arch bridges in Texas, with a main span of 85 feet. It’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Hamilton County and TxDOT have agreed to orchestrate and move it to the new park. And it will be used. No longer suitable for vehicular traffic, the bridge will be a part of the hike/bike nature trail system over and along Pecan Creek.

Other elements planned for the park include eight picnic units, with tables, grills, trash receptacles, and shade trees, two 280-foot softball/baseball fields that will be lighted and irrigated, one 200-foot softball/baseball field also lighted and irrigated, a soccer/multi-purpose field, a football/multi-purpose field, hike and bike trails that are eight feet wide and extend 4,275 linear feet, exercise stations designed and built by medical personnel  —

MR. COOK: Sir, if you would, we need you to wrap up pretty quick. Thank you.

MR. RUMSEY: Okay. Thank you. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve come together, and what we’ve done in Hamilton. And we appreciate the opportunity that you all are offering us to show you our appreciation. And that concludes my statements. Any questions?

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you for coming.

MR. RUMSEY: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Tom Adams and then Ray Sparks. Did I get the order out?

MR. TOM ADAMS: On behalf of the City of San Angelo, Mayor Rudy Izzard, and our state representative Scott Campbell, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners and Department. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this grant process. We benefit from your efforts and we express our appreciation, this day, and our support.

With our project that’s proposed, the San Angelo Northwest Community Park, this is adjacent to our river, which feeds from O.C. Fisher Reservoir where we have a state park now. And this becomes a part of a park complex, linked by our rivers and our reservoirs in our community. And this is a great asset to our community.

It’s been about 20 years since we’ve had a major improvement in our park system. And so for us, this is a significant endeavor. And we appreciate your support. Thank you.




Are there any questions of Mr. Adams, or any comments?

(No response.)


Ray Sparks and then Boyd Holley.

MR. SPARKS: Madame Chairman, honorable Commissioners, 49 years ago, I was a senior in Hamilton High School. At that point, we had one ball field in Hamilton. And it was for softball. Hardball, baseball, had not been played in Hamilton for probably 20 years because they had decided at some point, it was too dangerous.

A group of us got together and we went to the principal of the high school, and convinced him to allow us to change up the softball field, move the bases back and the pitcher’s mound back to the point where we could play baseball. After doing that, we scrounged up some old uniforms. And one of the coaches agreed to work with us. And we actually got out and played a half a dozen games.

None of us had ever seen a real baseball game at that point in our lives. I remember listening to baseball games on the radio that were narrated by Dizzy Dean. And nobody can talk about a baseball game like Dizzy Dean used to do that.

I have to say that that first year, we did not win a single game. Forty years ago, they were discussing the fact that Hamilton needed a sports complex. Ten years ago, we still had one ball field. Today, we still have one ball field. I think it’s rather fitting that 50 years after this group of high school seniors got baseball started again in Hamilton, Texas  — 50 years later when we have our 50th class reunion next year, we should have this sports complex built. Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any comments or questions?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Boyd Holley and Jane, is it, Crouch?

MR. HOLLEY: Good morning. My name is Boyd Holley and I’m here representing the City of Hamilton Parks and Recreation Board, and also the Hamilton County Youth Athletic Association, and just here in support of the project for the Hamilton County Park, a concrete recreation park, and just available for questions if there are any. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any questions or comments?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Jane Crouch and then Thomas Adams.

MS. CROUCH: Thank you very much. I’d just like to add the elements of the park that the mayor didn’t get to finish.

We intend to build in the park the eight picnic units that he mentioned, two 280-foot softball/baseball fields that will be lighted and irrigated, one 200-foot softball/baseball field also lighted and irrigated, a soccer/multi-purpose field, a football/multi-purpose field, hike and bike trails that are eight feet wide and extend 4,275 linear feet  — you’re invited to come enjoy it with us  — exercise stations designed and built by medical personnel, a nature trail built by the sheriff’s office, a beach volleyball area, a horseshoe pitching area built by the high school vocational-ag department, and a playground that includes play equipment for special needs kids, the first in our county, and a skateboard area.

We’re very proud of this project; and so happy to be here; and happy that you all have chosen to fund out project. Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, we’re glad you all our here. And it makes us feel good to see you all feeling so good. And I’m glad you finally got your baseball field. That’s just great  — and a lot of other good stuff, too.

I think I’ve now figure out what my confusion was. We have two Tom Adams here today. Tom Adams, followed by  — Thomas L. Adams and then Robert Bradley. I couldn’t figure out why Tom Adams from San Angelo would be interested in what’s going on in Hamilton.

MR. THOMAS L. ADAMS: There are too many of us out there.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: But you never know.

MR. THOMAS L. ADAMS: Madame Chairman, Commission members, I really have nothing to add to the prior statements. I’m simply here to support the application as the president of the Hamilton Economic Development Corporation. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Great. Thank you so much.

Robert Bradley and then Robert Zap.

MR. BRADLEY: Good morning, Commissioners and fellow Texans. I’m Robert Bradley, speaking on behalf of the Harvest Bend community.

Have you ever read about the exploits of a young boy in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer?  Or maybe you can recall your own fond memory of a childhood adventure along the wooded confines of a Texas river bottom?  Just maybe, you yourself have enjoyed a hike along the Neches River tributary as it winds its way through the Big Thicket Natural Preserve, and you wondered at the majesty of God’s creations.

Well, for so many young Texans who inhabit our big cities, such as Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, and belong to less-endowed social and economic backgrounds  — for these children, those personal experiences remain unfounded. Accordingly, I ask how can one develop an appreciation for that which one has not experienced?

Today, folks, upon your awarding of this grant to our Harvest Bend community, contained within the Reid Road Municipal Utility District, the Texas Parks and Wildlife organization and the people in the State of Texas will greatly aid our community efforts to address one of the shortcomings of urbanization. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the funds from this grant will be employed to create an East Texas river bottom environment, wetlands educational classroom, in the often underutilized confines of a subdivision rainwater retention pond.

Hopefully, and through the toil of all involved in this effort, we can further develop an appreciation of nature within our youth and create a model for other suburban developers to follow.

Please, additionally, allow us to express our sincere appreciation for the efforts of the staff for the grants and aid division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife organization. We have found the awarding process to be well-defined and very objectively administered. In a day when you read of so much pork in our political process, it is quite refreshing to experience a program managed so professionally.

In conclusion, early last Saturday, I witnessed a small flock of wild ducks leaving our Harvest Bend subdivision and just felt that it was a sign we were on the right track. Thanks again for all your support.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Any comments, questions?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you so much.

Robert Zap and then Richard Dolgener.

MR. ZAP: I’m Robert Zap. I’m the mayor of the City of Andrews. And it’s my pleasure to come before this commission today.

A number of years ago, a group of citizens from our community got together under what we called ASAP. And we were looking at priorities and needs of our community. At that time, we could see the need for recreation, and developing the facilities we had. And Andrews is very fortunate in that we have a city, a county government, hospital, school, all working together, saying, What can we do? How can we help each other?

And it’s just my privilege to thank you for including the state in this mix. Because our experience in working with you, and the cooperation, and the spirit, has just been a great experience. Thank you.


Richard Dolgener, correct me.

MR. DOLGENER: Madame, Commissioners, I’m Richard Dolgener. I’m the County Judge in Andrews, Texas, or I think I am. I kind of have the first joke. We’ve been in new judge school for the last two weeks. And I come in here and I think I’m in a Commissioner’s Court meeting, which I really want to be up there with you all. Because that’s what I elected for, to look this way instead of to look this way.

But I want to enter with the mayor and the city council, the Commissioner’s Court, that we really appreciate you all looking at this grant. It’s more than what is here. And for the record, I will make my comments as far as your voting for what your department has done.

But we had our Commissioner’s Court meeting two weeks ago. And some people came in there about some of the economic things of having some softball games in Midland  — Mr. Angelo. I haven’t met you yet, but how are you doing. The softball in our area is growing, and growing, and growing. And it’s growing out of Midland. And our community is trying to get some of that going with us. And that’s one area of this grant.

The other grant that I’m really  — is on the other end of the walking trail, is the birding area and the wetlands area. Because what we’re going to do is, with county equipment, go in there and change a not-very-good looking place in town to a good looking deal.

And along with the school district, and a TIF grant  — and as the mayor said, this is  — I’m learning, this is a partnership between state government. And with the TIF grant, we have wireless communications to all this. And the kids in our high school and middle school can come up, and pull up you all’s website, or anything about nature, environment, and can learn that.

And it is a big thing for Andrews. And I appreciate the Commission.

And also, I’d like to make your staff, and the grants people  — and the people who came out and did the walk-through were great. I did not have any problems at all with them.


MR. DOLGENER: Any comments or questions?

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any comments or questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you for coming.

MR. DOLGENER: I’m sorry, Madame Chairman, I was being the judge again. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh, that’s all right. Thank you for being here.

Marv Fesler and Robert Brengel.

MR. BRENGEL: We’re a little out of order here. Marv’s speaking on the same subject. My name is Bob Brengel. I’m board secretary, assistant treasurer, of Reid Road MUD 1. And I appreciate the chance to speak for the entire Harvest Bend community.

We’re located in northwest Houston. We serve an area where access to open fields and play areas, for both adults and children, are sadly lacking. And this grant will enable us to build a river bottom theme and provide a place where the whole community can revel in the great outdoors. It will provide a place for the wildlife conservation education, a place where both children and adults can enjoy a variety of activities not available without a lengthy commute.

I want to express my thanks and explain that this facility is going to make a tremendous difference in our community. A special thanks needs to go to Mr. Tim Hogsett, Bob Cook, the entire grant program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife. This group of people represent what’s right about Texas government. They’re knowledgeable, courteous, patient. And this is a resubmittal so you can understand where I’m coming from. And those are just some of the words that can be used to describe the special group of people.

I hope the current fiscal situation in Texas allows this program to continue. I personally know what an impact this grant will have among our community. If anything, the expansion and not contraction of these kinds of programs is required.

In closing, let me echo Mr. Bradley’s prior comments and sincerely thank the Commission for this decision.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Thank you. Does anybody have any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Thank you, Bob. Next we have Marv Fesler.

MR. FESLER: My name is Marv Fesler. I’m vice president of the Reid Road MUD 1, like Bob said, in northwest Harris County. And I don’t want that red light to go off, so I’ll make it real quick.

We appreciate the efforts that you all do here. Because in getting a grant, it is tough, the rules, the qualifications, everything. They’re hard to meet. So only the deserving get one. And we thank you for that.

People in our district are middle income people. When the kids get home from school, they have two things to do. They either get in trouble or they don’t get caught. So with this grant, we’re going to be able to provide something for these kids to do, as well as the older people. And that was an exaggeration. We do have a lot of good kids in our subdivision.

Thank you very much. We appreciate it.


MR. TREVINO: Good morning. My name is Isauro Trevino. I’m the City Manager for the City of Mission. On behalf of the citizens of Mission, our Mayor Alberto Salinas, and city council, state representative Kino Flores, Fernando, my grants administrator, and I request your approval consideration as recommended by staff on our proposed bid for our community park.

Our community park that will be linked to a hike and bike trail that commences at our nature park and ends at the World Birding Center Headquarters. Our park will be just north of the proposed veterans cemetery in Mission. This park will offset the recreational activities taken by the World Birding Center, since Bentsen State Park will now be at the home of the Birding Center, and any recreation activities for our citizens.

Therefore, this park will serve the citizens of Mission and will become used in diverse recreation activities. This project will be a good asset for our community and will continue to build a stronger relationship with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Once again, thank you for your opportunity to speak here today on behalf of the City of Mission residents and our elected officials. Fernando has a couple of comments.

FERNANDO: Good morning. As you can see by our exhibit here, the proposed park amenities are as follows.  It will have four baseball/softball fields. It will have 15 picnic shelters, a five-acre frisbee golf field. Around the perimeter of the park will be a walking trail which will be two miles in length. It will have two soccer/football fields, two tennis courts, three men’s and three women’s horseshoe pitching fields, a two-acre retention pond with a pier, two playground areas, four basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts, five shuffleboard courts. And we have allocated 12.93 acres that will be dedicated as open space and a bird watching area.

So, as you can see, we have something for every member of our community. This proposal will also serve by implementing a park in the southwest section of our city, which at the present time does not have a public park, and is mainly composed of low income citizens. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Any questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER AVILA: Very impressive.

FERNANDO: Thank you.


Barbara Meeks and Rhonda Cyrus.

MS. MEEKS: Good morning, Madame Chair and Commissioners. I’m here on behalf of the citizens of League City to thank you for your continuing support of our efforts to preserve our local heritage and the history of League City. This grant is going towards the Butler Longhorn Museum in Heritage Park. The Butler Longhorns originated in League City, in Galveston County. And we’re very excited to be able to do this.

This grant will help us put in the outdoor improvements that are much needed, the interpretive centers, and the trails. And we’re just so appreciative of this.

A year ago, I stood before you when we accepted a grant to help us purchase some land, 140 acres, which will soon be a nature center. And as we told the previous commission, you too will be receiving an invitation to the grand opening on that.

Again, on behalf of the citizens of League City, I say, Thank you.


MS. CYRUS: Thank you, Commissioners. Once again, I just wanted to reiterate what Councilman Meeks had stated. Your programs have been vital to our community in the Clear Lake area.

And I also want to extend our thanks to your staff. They have been wonderful to work with over my 16 years experience with the City of League City. Thank you very much.


I think that concludes the comments on this agenda item. Do we have any questions from the Commission, or any comments?

MS. ESTRADA: We have one more.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh, one more? Okay. Tom Yantis.

MR. YANTIS: Good morning, Commissioners. I’m the Assistant City Manager for the City of Georgetown. The City of Georgetown would like to thank you for your favorable consideration of the staff recommendation for our grant proposal.

Two years ago, we received another grant that allowed us to build our trail system along the San Gabriel River. This grant will allow us to extend that trail system from its current termination point all the way to Lake Georgetown.

This is an exciting project for the City of Georgetown. Because what it will enable us to do is allow folks who come to visit Georgetown, staying at Lake Georgetown, to get on a trail and come all the way into downtown, without ever having to get on a major road. This is a goal that we’ve had in mind for a long time, and something that this grant will enable us to fulfill.

I also wanted to let you know that this is fulfilling the needs and wishes of the citizens of Georgetown. In 2001, we conducted a survey of our residents. And they said, completing trail systems along the river and streams in Georgetown was their number-one priority.

So I’d like to thank you, and thank, again, Tim Hogsett and Elaine Dill for their outstanding contribution to this project. And we look forward to your favorable consideration. Thank you.


Any comments or questions?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I move approval of the recommendations.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion moved by Commissioner Angelo. Do I have a second?



(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


Agenda item number three, Mr. Hogsett, once again, indoor recreation grants.

MR. HOGSETT: Madame Chairman, members of the Commission. For the record again, I’m Tim Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program in the State Parks Division. This is our annual presentation of recommendations to you for funding from the indoor recreation grant program, which is part of the Texas Recreation Parks account, which is enabled through a sporting goods tax.

We had 25 applications that were received as of our July 31 deadline, requesting $15.8 million in matching funds. As we did with the other program, we’ve scored and rank ordered all of these projects. You can find that ranking in Exhibit A. And our recommendation to you is funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount $3,411,868, is approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B.

I’ll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Do you have any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Then we’ll take public comment. The first individual is Carolyn Evans, followed by Rodrigo Ramon.


VOICE: We can’t hear her. The mike’s not on.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I’m sorry. How about that?

We’ll start over again. The first individual to speak is registered as Carolyn Evans.

MS. EVANS: That’s me.


MS. EVANS: My name is Carolyn Chipman Evans. And I an so happy to be here today. I want to thank you, of course, for your service with Parks and Wildlife. I greatly appreciate the work that you do.

And the Cibolo Nature Center has had the privilege of partnering with Parks and Wildlife for many years, in the development of our nature center. Myself, I was able to serve on the recreational trails commission. So I understand how difficult it is to choose the projects, because there are many, many worthy projects. And we’ve very privileged to be a part of your consideration.

The Cibolo Nature Center has ambitious goals because we feel a great and urgent need for conservation, and wildlife protection, and protection of the Hill Country. So we are quite an ambitious group. We are only 13 years old. But in that 13 years, we’ve come a long, long way.

The Cibolo Nature Center is the only protected natural area in all of Kendall County. And Kendall County is really a bedroom county for San Antonio, as you might know, growing very rapidly. 100 acres is the only protected area in Kendall County. So we’re very serious about our project. We feel like it’s a very important project.

And we hope to grow a lot in the future. In fact, I hope that I can be here, one day, asking for funding for more land, like some of these folks. It was very heartening to hear that you are supporting land acquisition.

We are a regional nature center. We are the only nature center that San Antonio has. We are really interested in becoming more of a regional nature center. We want to be a major force in conservation education in the Hill Country. And we also want to continue to do our programs for San Antonio schools and the area schools.

I want to thank Tim Hogsett and Elaine Dill. Of course, they were wonderful. This is our second submission here. And we were very helped by their support, and encouragement, and advice. And of course, Mark Watson and Joseph Fitzsimons, who actually visited with me  — and I wish I could have met all of you. But we’re busy at the trail. But, anyway, I’m really happy to be able to have gotten to know some of you.         And I wanted to invite you all to our ground breaking, which will be on March 13. We’re going to have a wonderful little event. And it’s right in Boerne, Texas, a great place to come.

And I thank you very much for your consideration.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Thank you for being here.

Rodrigo Ramon, please, followed by Mike Bradford.

MR. RAMON: Commissioners, thank you for your time. I’m the City Mayor in Robstown. I’m here looking for support of our indoor recreation facility. We are in dire need of a facility for our youth. We have partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Corpus Christi.

This area  — the city population is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000, with surrounding areas, within five to six miles, another 10,000 or 12,000 people. In this area, we all partner up in our youth organizations, whether it be a livestock show, whether it be a softball tournament, or baseball tournament.

And this facility is important to us because it offers, not only athletics, or an indoor recreation facility, but it offers mentoring, computer labs, things that may be other kids who don’t get into athletics, but they do get into academics. We do not currently have a facility of this nature.

Our city has been stagnant probably for the last 15 years. Currently, we are in a growth mode. We’ve got start-up companies, housing development. Things are moving here in town. But one of the things we have lacked is the youth.

I personally get involved with the youth. For the last 15 years, I coached baseball, girls softball, Tai quan do. I do mentoring. The city leaders in our community have taken an administrative role to help our infrastructure and the needs that we have.

The one thing that we have not addressed  — and we’re here to address today  — is for our youth, which is very important. So I look for the support. And thank you very much.


Next, we’ll have Darrell Keach. Mr. Bradford?

MR. BRADFORD: Good morning. For the record, I’m Mike Bradford, County Commissioner, Midland County. And Madame Chair  — and in her absence, please extend our greetings  — and Commissioners, thank you for your time.

On behalf of the citizens of Midland County, I stand before you to thank you for your service to the people of Texas, and thank your diligent staff for their excellent consideration.

With your approval, Midland County’s grant will be used to build the first project in the history of Midland County that will accommodate, in the usage, by adjoining counties. We are excited about the project. We offer you an invitation, at any time, to attend and participate at this fine center.

And as an aside, any time that you need it, or see that it would be appropriate, we’re prepared to come and state our case for the protection of this account that funds each and every one of these projects. Thank you for your time.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Thank you, Mr. Bradford.

Darrell Keach?

MR. KEACH: Good morning. My name is Darrell Keach. And I’m with the Boys and Girls Club of Corpus Christi, who is partnered with the City of Robstown. I was going to speak on the merits of this project, but Mr. Hogsett and the staff has done that for us.

As I look this morning on the exhibit, out of the 25 projects, the six they’re recommending to fund, ours is the only one that isn’t being resubmitted. And I think for a project to come up for the first time, and be recommended to be funded, speaks to the merits of this project.

But what I can offer you is that once this project is built, which should be by the end of the year, the Boys and Girls Club of Corpus Christi has a great record of running our programs efficiently. In fact, last year, after our audit, out of our  — it was all said and done, 86 percent of the money we receive was attributed directly to a program to a child. Only 14 percent went to administration, which comparatively  — we got to looking around  — nationally, Jerry Lewis is looked at one of the most efficient fund-raising campaigns and he’s in the 21 to 22 percent range.

So what I offer you is to, please, approve this project. It will be in good hands, the Boys and Girls Club of Corpus Christi. Thank you.


I don’t believe we have any more to speak on this item. Is that correct?

MR. JOHNSTON: Commissioner, good morning.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Oh, we’ve got another one? Okay. Thank you.

Marcus Johnston?

MR. JOHNSTON: Good morning, Commissioners. We’re here today from the City of Midland. With me today are Councilman James Bradford, whose district this center is within, and Renee Burk, our community services director.

It’s been several years now since the YMCA first announced that they were going to close the community center. And the city stepped in. The city knew the need. They knew the impact that closing this facility would have on the community, as well as the neighborhood, the citizens around there, and the entire city.

This grant is going to be huge for us. We appreciate your favorable consideration. This will allow us to expand the recreational and cultural programming that takes place in the center now. We certainly appreciate your favorable consideration of this. We can’t thank you enough. Thank you, again.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Thank you for being here.

Do we have any other input from the audience? I believe not. Mr. Hogsett, do the commissioners have any questions, further comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Hearing none, do we have a motion?



COMMISSIONER ANGELO: We have a motion and a second. All in favor, please say, Aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Madame Chairman?

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Agenda item number four, target range grants. Mr. Hogsett will speak on that.

MR. HOGSETT: Madame Chairman, members of the Commission, this is our pass-through federal grant-in-aid program for the construction or rehabilitation of target range facilities, either publicly owned or privately owned. These are 75 percent matching grants. The money comes from the Federal Aid and Wildlife Restoration Act.

We’re recommending approval today of the two applications that we’ve received, in the total amount of $90,000. The recommendation we offer you is  — Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the executive director to execute contracts for the projects in Exhibits B and C, pending availability of federal funds.

I’ll be glad to answer any questions that you have.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have no one signed up to speak on this. So if we have any questions of Mr. Hogsett  — any questions, comments from the Commission? If not, do I have a motion?




CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have a motion and a second. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. Thank you, Mr. Hogsett.

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Madame Chairman, I’d like to just make a comment. I think Mr. Hogsett and his staff have heard from a lot of people this morning about what a fine job they’ve done. But I know how difficult it is, having seen this process a number of times. And I wanted to add my appreciation for the job they do.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Before we go on to the next agenda item, I do want to  — sorry, Walt. We had a terrible tragedy occur yesterday on one of our state parks. A Marine helicopter crashed. Four people, I believe, we killed.


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Two helicopters crashed. And we  — of course, everyone in this room, I know, their thoughts are with their families and their loved ones. The Parks and Wildlife Commission will do everything it can to help the military in any way and the families, or just be available to help in any way we possibly can. So, I just wanted to make that sad announcement.

Agenda item number five is an action item, the Kerrville-Schreiner State Park transfer.

Mr. Dabney, would you please make your presentation?

MR. DABNEY: Madame Chairman, Commission members, I’m Walt Dabney, State Park Director. I’m here to speak to you this morning about the potential to transfer the Kerrville-Schreiner State Park at Kerrville to the City of Kerrville.

We obtained this 517-acre park in 1934, after the CCC had built it, from the City of Kerrville for $10. And we have operated it ever since. We developed facilities there that are listed on the slide. It’s a good old line park.

The big difference is that difference between 1934 and Kerrville today is that Kerrville is, in fact, a growing city and is in the process of surrounding Kerrville State Park right now. House Bill 2108 passed by the 76th Legislature provides $2 million in grant money a year. This money does not come out of park operations. It’s available through the TRPA accounts.

It allows us, where it makes sense  — and any ones that we have done have been directly associated  — with proximity to a city. And in several cases, including this one, we received that property originally from the city.

It allows us to negotiate the potential to transfer these sites back. We have done that on all occasions to date. And we have received a request from the City Council in Kerrville to transfer this site back to them. The grant requests an amount of $1.8 million.

To transfer the site, it would no longer be a state park. It would have to continue to be used as a park, basically in the same manner that it is operated now. We would have a reversion clause in that deed that if it were ever converted, or proposed to be converted to something other than what it is now, it would come back to the state.

The City of Kerrville has an excellent Parks and Recreation Department. They have the ability to do this. We have met with them on a number of occasions over a year period. We would propose  — or they are requesting that over the next two years, in the amounts shown on the screen, that we would go back in and do things that we need to do, basically, anyway to the site, which is improve water and sewer systems, build a new restroom, hook up our RV sites again, convert the cabins to year-round opportunities, where right now they’re screen shelters and the use is limited seasonally.

Our recommendation is that you approve us to move forward, and actually execute a grant agreement in the amount not to exceed the 1.8 million from the TRPA account, and effect that transfer. I’d be glad to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any questions or comments from the Commission?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We do have some folks signed up to speak on this, Myron Hess and Dennis Kneese.

MR. HESS: Good morning, Chairman Armstrong, Commissioners, Mr. Cook. My name is Myron Hess. I’m here this morning, representing Texans for State Parks. We’re a statewide organization working to support the state park system.

Let me say, right up front, that I’m not here this morning to support or oppose this proposed transfer. I really want to talk a little bit about the process. As a statewide organization, we generally try not to involve ourselves too much in individual park decisions, but take an overall view of the park system.

I recognize  — we recognize that you have a tough balancing process that you go through in this sort of issue of considering transferring facilities out of the state park system. I think you also recognize that it is a pretty emotional, controversial issue for a lot of folks in the local communities.

So we’re here this morning to urge you to make sure that the process that’s followed is as clear, open, and definite as possible. During the comment process, from the Land and Water Resource Conservation Plan, there were a lot of folks who showed up, who had a lot of concerns about properties that were listed as eligible for transfer.

And I think a fair amount of those concerns, in some cases were due to their misunderstanding, or failure to understand what criteria were really being considered in deciding if a facility should or shouldn’t be listed  — and a lot of concerns, you know, that they didn’t quite know how to direct their comments in a way that would make a difference.

I think that the same situation pertains here to some extent. On the website, there was an invitation for people to comment on this transfer. And that’s great. That’s a great use of the website, you know, allowing that public opportunity.

But one of the things that was lacking was any sort of direction to the public of what factors they should comment on, if they really want their comments to be considered. You know, yes, we need to have public involvement. We need to have the opportunity to comment. But we need to help them to make those comments as effective as possible so that they know that the information that they want to convey is going to be considered by the department and by the Commission.

So, I guess all I really want to do is urge you, both with respect to this, but any future transfers that you might consider, to establish a very clear decision process, with definite decision criteria. So that the public can say, Okay, they’re going to look at this issue and this issue.

One, it helps the public to understand that you really are making sure that the resource is going to be protected, whether it’s cultural, or recreational, or just the natural resource protection  — that that’s really being protected. But it also helps them to feel like they are participating, meaningfully, in the process  — that they know how to direct, that then there will be a response back to them that says, Okay, you know, these are the factors we considered. And this is why it makes sense to transfer these facilities.

So we recognize you have a difficult decision. I appreciate all your efforts. And again, we just urge that we make the process as open and as clear as possible. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Mr. Hess.

Any comments or questions of Mr. Hess?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: It seems to me that the Commission feels the process is open and that the procedures have been  — most of what you discussed has been followed. Certainly, Mr. Dabney and his staff have, we think, done a great job in investigating all those criteria before making this recommendation. So I don’t  — I guess I’m not really sure if you’ve got a concern about this particular one or if you’re speaking in general.

MR. HESS: I guess the concern is that the decision criteria be clearly communicated to the public. So that when comments are solicited, that they can sort of say, Okay, you know, you’re going to look at items a, b, c, and d, and here are my comments on those items, to help in that consideration.

You know, I know that there’s been a comment process, that the comments are elicited. I guess what I would suggest is that we make it as deliberate as possible to help people to understand how to direct those comments to specific decision criteria. And then, they can see how those decision criteria were applied to a specific decision.

It’s not any criticism that the process is not open. I certainly think it is.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I agree with Commissioner Angelo. I am pleased with the process that we’ve used in this specific incidence. And I think in the process that we all went through in formulating the Land and Water Conservation Plan, that there were criteria established within that plan that I would urge everyone to refer to, that will be a good place to start in determining what some of these criteria are.

MR. HESS: Thank you, Madame Chairman. I know that  — I mean, there are criteria there, sort of broad criteria. I don’t recall that there’s any explanation on how the criteria applied to any specific site. But in addition to that, of course, obviously, those are the criteria for the sites that are eligible for transfer. And then beyond that, the next step is, you know, Is that transfer appropriate?

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, as I said, it’s a good place to start.

MR. HESS: Yes, thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Dennis Kneese and Ron Patterson.

MR. KNEESE: Good morning, I’m Dennis Kneese. It’s spelled  —


MR. KNEESE: No, you’re more correct than whoever came up with the way it’s pronounced. I’m Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Kerrville. I’ve been there 22 years in that position. And for the last year or so, we’ve worked with your staff. I want to echo Mr. Angelo and the other people here who have praised them. They are a tremendous group.

And I believe we’ve looked at this proposal in great detail. And we’re looking forward to these negotiations.

Mr. Patterson, behind me, is actually my boss. He’s the City Manager of the City of Kerrville. And, actually, we’re predominantly here to answer questions.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is Mr. Patterson going to want to speak? Or would you like to get up and answer questions at the same time?

MR. PATTERSON: We can do that.


MR. PATTERSON: I just want to make sure, Madame Chairman and the Commission, that the City Council has passed a resolution of support for this project. They are excited about this potential. And have authorized us through that resolution, Dennis and myself, to actually enter into these negotiations. So we do have all of those authorities present and available.

And we’re available to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, we’re glad you’re here. Do we have any questions or comments from the Commission?

(No response.)


MR. PATTERSON: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you very much.

MR. DABNEY: Madame Chairman, one of the most important criteria in this whole effort is to make sure that no park area is lost to the citizens of Texas. Who manages it and who provides the services is the question here. And so, in none of these transfers do we think anything is being lost to the citizens or we would not pursued it any further than this, or made the recommendation to you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I think that reflects the sentiments of the Commission. Thank you, Mr. Dabney.

Do we have any questions?


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Ramos?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Are you saying, then, that any agreement would incorporate some provision that this tract of land would forever, in perpetuity, be used strictly for park purposes?

MR. DABNEY: It does, yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Thank you. And I’m assuming the City of Kerrville is willing to accept those conditions.

MR. PATTERSON: Absolutely.


MR. PATTERSON: Yes, sir.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Henry?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Walt, would you just briefly comment for us, please, on some of the concerns that were raised by the previous speaker, if you have any that you’d like to make that’s relevant to the process?

MR. DABNEY: I think, as has been pointed out, we had a fairly lengthy public process here in the case of Kerrville. We did, in fact  — this was in the newspapers. We went and conducted a public meeting in Kerrville for people to come and make comments on it.

The judgment is always, eventually, going to be subjective. I mean, you can make an argument that it should stay a state park. You can make an argument that it rightfully can be a city park.

I think in this particular case, it used to be a park owned by the City of Kerrville, and now, them developing through the years, and coming forward and saying, Okay, we’re ready to take it back as a city park now, loses nothing again to the people of Texas. They have the ability to do it. They’re right there.

And we can use the folks that are there in other places within the state park system, where we’re already in tough conditions. So this makes sense on a whole lot of fronts.

And I think Mr. Hess’s concerns are valid. If we were losing this as a park, number one, none of us would have made that recommendation to you. And, secondly, it would have been inappropriate. But that’s not the case now.

And the City of Kerrville is excited about doing this. And it really is their park. It’s right there in the city limits.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I’ve been to that park. And it’s a lovely park.

And I also want to comment that this has been something we’ve been very much aware of for some time. And there’s been tremendous discussion, in a very open forum, I believe, with excellent cooperation from all parties involved. I’m very pleased with the way the process has been handled in this case.

MR. DABNEY: The only point left, Chairman, is that I’ve told City Manager Patterson that if you do approve this, he owes you your $10 back.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I’ll remember that.

Do we have any further questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I move approval of this recommendation.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have a second?


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have a motion and a second. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: The motion carries.

Agenda item number six, wildlife grant budget adjustments.

Suzy Whittenton, will you please make your presentation?

MS. WHITTENTON: Thank you. For the record, I’m Suzy Whittenton, Chief Financial Officer.

We’re recommending a budget adjustment for the Wildlife Division, to correctly classify the Conservation Action Grant Program as grant funds. They were incorrectly classified as operating funds in the budget that you approved in August.

And also, to clarify, this program is funded partially by the conservation license plate funds, which may only be spent for acquisition, development, maintenance, or operations of parks, fisheries, or wildlife projects that have been individually approved by the Commission.

The project budget for fiscal year ’03 is $700,000. The grants would benefit rare species, and species in need of conservation. And the program requires a one-to-one match.

Staff recommends the following motion  — that Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the staff recommendation for use of the conservation and capital account funds for the Conservation Action Grant Program.

Any questions or comments?

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have no one signed up to speak on this. So if there are no further questions, do we have a motion?




CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have a motion and a second. All those in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: The motion carries.

Action item number seven, CCC 70th anniversary celebration in 2003 resolution. Mr. Dabney, will you please make your presentation?

MR. DABNEY: Madame Chairman and Commission, I’m Walt Dabney, State Park Director. And I’m here before you this morning to talk about the Civilian Conservation Corps, which is having its 70th anniversary this year. It was chartered in 1933, not by Congressional Act, but by Executive Order from Franklin Roosevelt, predicated on an omnibus act that was passed, an act for the relief of unemployment through the performance of useful public works and other purposes. It was signed in 1933.

That was the basis of the act that established the CCC in Texas and across the nation. The primary purpose by FDR was to try to provide useful employment to help get this nation through the Great Depression in the ’30s. Thousands of young men came to work in parks across the nation and, certainly, in Texas.

They were paid extravagantly. They made $30 a month, of which  — one of the enrollees from that time told me $22 of it was taken, that they never saw, and sent home directly to their family, so that they could get through this difficult time.

Camps were operated by the Army and by the National Park Service. The enrollees learned many skills from furniture making to stone masonry to concrete work to carpentry, electrical work, and so forth, many skills that they carried on into life later on.

Some of the great buildings we still use throughout the system, not only in state parks, but in city parks across this state, and across the nation. Over 30 parks  — 30 of the existing state parks in Texas were built by the CCC.

This March, March 31, we’re going to have a celebration in two places, one on the steps of the Capitol, honoring the CCC for the work that they did and, secondly, a celebration on that same day, March 31, over at Bastrop. So we’ll be inviting all the veterans of the CCC in Texas to come and be recognized.

Their work lives on. Proposition 8, as you know, is helping us renovate many of these sites that were built 70 years ago now, and have needed work. They’re used by citizens of Texas. And we look forward to this celebration as reminding us who actually built these places.

I’ve got a resolution in your packet that I’ll show in a second. But before I do that, I’d like to introduce the first of two gentlemen who are actually CCC veterans, that are here to spend a few minutes with you talking about their experiences and what this meant.

Millard Filmore, M.F. Rutherford, Jr. and his wife Ida Mae are here. Mr. Rutherford was at Company 3807 at Fort Parker from March 1938 to March 1940. We asked him what the CCC meant to him. And he said, Survival  — pure and simple, survival. After the CCC, Mr. Rutherford joined the Army. After World War II, he spent 28 years working for General Motors.

He met his wife when he was in the CCC at the county fair in Limestone County, Texas. And they’ve been married since 1946. And they’re both here. And I would like to invite Mr. Rutherford up to speak to us a little bit about the CCC and what the meant to him.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Thank you, Mr. Dabney. And to all of you, thank you for the invitation. I am happy and proud to say that I am an ex-CCC boy  — we called them CCC boys because of the fact that we were boys from the age of 18 to 22.

But the purpose of the CCC was because of the fact that in the early years of 1900s  — 1929, that was the depression. And there was depression not only in Texas, but all over the United States. That means that the bottom fell out in Washington, D.C. And there were no jobs, no money. The middle  — it went down between  — the middle man was cut out and there were just two standards. That was the rich and that was the poor.

And I, Millard Rutherford, was happy to be one of those 3-plus million young men who were caught up in that dilemma. So we had a president by the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who organized the program of the CCC. That was the Civilian Conservation Corps. And the purpose of the program was to give the young men jobs.

They had the CCC, and the WPA, and the NRA. But the CCC was for the young men, age 18 to 22. We enrolled in that CCC. What the CCC meant to me was the problem of survival. All of us, of that 3.5 million young men had the same problem. That was trying to survive. We were hungry and we needed a job. So the president provided that job for us.

In the year of 1933, he organized the CCC. After President Roosevelt’s inauguration march, the fourth, 1933  — 27 days after inauguration, he organized his first CCC camp in the hills of Virginia. It was named the Roosevelt Camp.

So what it means to me, it means  — it meant a job for me. To me, the CCC was an extension from home training. I learned how to, of course, get along with people. I learned how to share, because we all lived together. We ate together. And we worked together.

The CCC unified us into one big family. And we were one big family working for the same common cause, and that was to survive. I thank President Roosevelt for the magnificent job that he did on organizing that program. Because it wasn’t only in Texas, but it was all over the United States, including Puerto Rico, Hawaii.

So after that, then we learned a trade. And then we were able to go on. And those same 3.5 million young men were the same group of people, in the year 1941, in the war, when we were able to go into the Armed Service and help defend our nation.

Roosevelt, I think, set a good example. President Roosevelt set a good example for us as Americans. He unified us. And when I think about him, I think about the flag, the pledge to the flag. "I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to America, for which it stands, one nation under God." He brought us all under one nation under God.

And I thank Roosevelt for having the opportunity to go. And because of that, we went on into various areas of life. It unified us into one big family. We were  — togetherness. And it taught us how to get along with people. It taught us how to use our hands. It taught us to be earnest in what we did. It taught to be sincere. It taught us to be dedicated. And it taught us how to treat other people.

So my hat is off to President Roosevelt. Two years ago, when I went to Washington, D.C., to see the museum that has his monument there, and I sat down and I put my arms around his monument, and I thanked him not only for myself, but I thanked him for the 3.5 million other young men plus their families, for the job that he did for his nation.

So I thank you for inviting me. Thank you very much.


MR. DABNEY: Mrs. Rutherford, would you stand up, too, and let us say hello to you?


MR. DABNEY: Bill McDonald was stationed at Bartlett, Texas, with the Civilian Conservation Service from 1937 to ’39 and then, as Mr. Rutherford said, as many of them did, went in the United States Navy during World War II. Bill has had a distinguished career. He’s been active in the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni. He was instrumental in chartering the chapter at Fort Parker.

He and his wife, Beth, have been very active in many of these events. And both he and his wife, Beth, have been founding members of the Texans for State Parks organization.

Bill retired as a lieutenant, with 30 years in the Austin Fire Department. And Bill, and Beth, and their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are big state park users. And I’d like to introduce Bill McDonald, CCC veteran.


MR. BILL McDONALD: Mr. Dabney, Ms. Armstrong, I still have tears in my eyes from what Brother Rutherford has said. I apologize for my lack of composure, to begin with. I can’t see my notes for these tears.

Mr. Cook, I didn’t include you in the beginning. I’m doing that now. Thank you, sir.

Members of the Commission, I was not so lucky as to be in the park-building part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. I had dreams of it when I signed up. I thought I was going someplace like Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon, Big Bend. But I was sent to a soil conservation camp. And that’s where I sent my 18 months of Civilian Conservation Corps experience.

But I’ve enjoyed over 100 of these parks, as I visited them throughout the United States. Civilian Conservation Corps built 800 state parks in the United States. I believe that about 56 of them were built here in Texas. And I was fortunate enough to visit the first  — the site of the first Civilian Conservation Corps camp, in Edinburg, Virginia, camp number one, Franklin Roosevelt Camp.

My part to bring out here is more about the live, the experience of the CCC boy himself. And so I will take that direction now.

In the mid-’30s, my mother and I lived in a five-room house on Highway 81 in Round Rock, Texas. Our income was $6 to $8 per month, from my paper route and distribution of handbills. Occasionally, my mother would rent a room for the night for $1, because being on the highway, we were in a convenient spot. My siblings were grown and gone from home.

It was just the two of us left there. And before I got into the CCC camp, I worked as hop boy on a milk wagon, horse drawn, for my keep  — no money, no pay, but food and a place to sleep. And $2 per week was sent to my mother.

Then I got into CCC camp and the food there was a banquet, the food that was on the table. Three good sandwiches for lunch, for noon  — and like a lot of boys said, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was quite a step up.

And then, there were kind people, strict but kind, helpful and understanding. So it helped a lot of us boys develop some self-esteem, some self-confidence, and some ambition.

It was a lifeline for my mother and me. The $22 a month I sent home to her enabled her to pay the back taxes on her home, and she had some repairs made, some improvements, plus money for food to live on. She got the gas turned back on. She got the electricity turned back on. We had had to go back to kerosene lamps and wood heat, because we couldn’t afford the gas and electricity. Now, she had those luxuries back.

And I had $8 a month to spend on myself. And back in 1937, $8 went a long way. I could buy a movie theater ticket that I can’t exchange for a dime. I could buy a hamburger for a nickel. I could buy a pint of milk for a nickel and a large flake-crust fried pie, fruit filled for another nickel. Five nickels, 25 cents and I had a good evening on the town.

And for another 25 cents, I could take a date. Now, you think we were not popular in those little towns like Bartlett, Texas, Pflugerville, Texas. We got along pretty well. And as some said, We were living high on the hog. But I was able to put some of that money aside because I had learned early on to be frugal, as did Brother Rutherford.

And we have a camaraderie that many people will never have. We survived. We’re still survivors. We survived that depression. We both were in the service. We survived that. He went in the Army. I went in the Navy. And that life in the Civilian Conservation Corps set both of us up as good candidates for military service  — good strong bodies, discipline, intelligent. And we did well in the Armed Forces.

We learned things in the CCC camp that we didn’t realize were going to be so helpful later on. I worked with an engineering crew. I learned to use the instruments. We laid out strip crop and terrace lines. I worked with tools. We built miles and miles of fences.

And there is the crowning glory. Building those fences, I got my PhD, certified, A number one, master post hole digger  — PhD mind you. And I was proud of it. Because my supervisor came up to me and congratulated me. He said, You have mastered that post hole digger, that drop over. And it made me feel good. I was just a kid, 17 years old, never had many compliments in life. That’s the kind of supervision we had.

And I learned to identify tools. All of us did. We learned to identify tools that would help us later on. Sometimes, we took examinations where we had to identify  — that was part of the test to identify those tools.

Well, he and I both learned, back there in the CCC camp, what a box stretcher was, what a sky hook was, what a left-handed monkey wrench was. We learned all that good stuff back there. So later on, when those wise guys threw those things at us, we already knew what that was about. When they tried to send us out to milk the pigeons so that the lieutenant would have fresh pigeon milk for his morning coffee, we knew what that was all about.

And there was fun there. We had fun. Some of it was almost like a summer camp, except that part of it was in the wintertime. And when the weather was absolutely too bad, we didn’t have to go out and work. Our health was looked after. Our safety was looked after.

And there were always good people around, ready and willing to advise. We could get counseling, if we were puzzled about something. There were good morals. And there was that preparation.

By the time I had served my three years in the Navy, during the War, it was more of what I got in the CCC plus a lot of things I didn’t get there. And that set me up as a good candidate for a civil service job. And I followed with 30 years in the Austin fire department.

I didn’t do anything great. I may have saved a life or two. They tell me I did. And the fact that I was serving my country, my state, my city  — and I was that boy who was considered a loser back in 1935, ’36, and ’37. I came out all right.

We raised five children. I think Mr. Dabney’s already mentioned that. We have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are now enjoying Texas state parks. And I appreciate that. I appreciate the parks for what they did to me, to my family. And I hope to see them continue for other families, many years to come.

I appreciate the time that you let me have here. I have possibly overrun. Because as I say, my eyes clouded over. I can’t see the clock. I can’t see my watch. I can’t see my notes. So I just took off and spoke to you without the help of any of it. So I spoke from the heart. Thank you.


MR. DABNEY: And standing next to Bill is Beth McDonald. And we appreciate you guys.


MR. DABNEY: Sometimes to keep the present in perspective, we need to have a little reminder of the past and how we got here. We have a resolution, that somebody’s flipping through for me right now, that we would ask that the Commission consider adopting.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any comment or question from the Commission before we entertain the motion?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I would like to make a comment  — how much the Commission enjoyed hearing from our two wonderful Conservation Corps graduates. I visited, as I know many of the Commissioners have, many of our state parks that have CCC buildings on them, and other bridges, and roads, and the like.

And I would like to admonish my generations, and the generations to come, that the beauty and charm that you find there today, which has now clearly stood the test of time, that we use those standards when we build in the future. And those are just the bricks and mortars that we see. And there’s a lot of wonderful things to be said about their charm and beauty.

But the values that you talked about today, and the gifts that you got from your experiences in the Conservation Corps, which are still being enjoyed by your children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren today, are also a good reminder to my generation and my children’s generation that there was more than just bricks and mortar that were built during that period.

Thank you very much for being here.


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, we had the McDonalds and Beth McDonald. Did you want to speak? We’d love to hear from you?

MS. McDONALD: I can just speak from here.

MR. BILL McDONALD: Come on up here, Beth.

MS. McDONALD: Whether you start the clock or not, I promise not to be longer than three minutes.

MR. COOK: You’ve got all the time you need.

MS. McDONALD: Okay. Bill left out one thing. And I’m sure that you will agree with me. When he and M.F. were speaking, you know, we were limited three minutes. Well, Bill forgot to tell you that these old CCC boys were issued World War I clothing, boots, shoes  — two sizes, you know, too big or too small. They had all these medical exams when they went in. And they were all vaccinated. Well, these guys were vaccinated with old Victrola needles and they can’t quit talking.

But I’m here as a member of the Board of Directors for Texans for State Parks. We will have our annual conference at Garner State Park on February 21 and 22. And I would like to issue a personal invitation to each of you, and to all of you collectively, to join us at our conference meeting this next month, if you can make it. And as soon as I can get your addresses from whomever, you’ll receive your official invitation in the mail. But if you can make it down to our conference at Garner State Park, we’d love to have you. Thank you.


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have another person that wanted to speak on this agenda item? Somehow, your name has slipped through the cracks. So come on up here.

MR. WARREN McDONALD: Thank you very much. I would like to thank the Commission for the chance to speak. My name did not slip through the cracks. It was just submitted very late.


MR. WARREN McDONALD: While the previous two gentlemen, CCC veterans, were speaking  — while they were being introduced, I decided I’d like to speak. While they were speaking, I jotted down a few notes.

First off, I was raised to not argue with my parents. My father said he never did anything great. I have to disagree. I want to say that for 50 years I’ve enjoyed the fruits of the labor of those 3.5 million men. Excuse me.

My dad started out taking me fishing at Inks Lake 50 years ago. My family, my wife, children, and I, we swim at Bastrop and Balmorhea. We camp at Garner and Palo Duro, and dozens of other parks. We’ve explored Longhorn Cavern. And I want to thank you for recognizing them.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have a motion from the Commission?




(A chorus of ayes.)


MR. BILL McDONALD: Thank you.



COMMISSIONER HENRY: I would ask that copies of our resolutions be sent to the two former CCC members, with our thanks for their service.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: That’s an excellent suggestion. Thank you, Commissioner Henry.

And thank you again for coming today.

Agenda item number eight will be a briefing item on bass tournaments. Phil Durocher, will you please make your presentation.

(Whereupon, a briefing ensued.)


MR. DUROCHER: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Agenda item  — that was a briefing item. So there were no comments on that. Next is agenda item number nine, an action item, scientific breeder proclamation.

Mr. Wolf, will you please make your presentation?

MR. WOLF: Madame Chairman, members of the Commission. For the record, my name is Clayton Wolf. I’m the White-tailed Deer Program Coordinator in the Wildlife Division.

This morning, I have one proposal I’m going to present to ask you to consider for adoption. And that deals with our scientific breeder proclamation. The proposal that we present for you is the elimination of the fawn report requirement that is required in our scientific breeder regulations.

Originally, the fawn report was intended as a means to reliably determine the number of deer that are produced or born in a facility. This report is due November 1 of every year. Additionally, scientific breeders are required to turn in an annual report, no later than April 16, that also requires that they inventory the number of fawns produced in a facility.

This issue was brought before our MLDP Triple-T task force. Some members felt that the fawn report was too burdensome, that some scientific breeders would have a hard time accurately inventorying fawns by November 1. Staff does not have a problem  — and doesn’t feel that the fawn report is a critical component of the department’s scientific breeder proclamation. Therefore, we are requesting that it be eliminated from the report requirements.

I’ll take any questions, if you have any.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any questions from the Commission, any comment?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have some people signed up to speak on this item  — Karl Kinsel, Ellis Gilleland.

MR. KINSEL: Good morning. We don’t want to lose our reputation as being able to complain about things from time to time. So I’d like to say this morning that  — we’re very proud to say that we’re in agreement with not only what’s presented for adoption, but also the things that are presented for consideration, yesterday.

We, at TDA, really commend Executive Director Bob Cook and the working group he’s utilized to include the MLD Triple-T task force. We are now, prior to addressing the Commission, able to determine issues which need revision and truly understand their cause. It’s been a new thing that’s come, where we really discuss the cause for why we need it or the cause for why we don’t. We can come to discuss them and we can come to a resolution before addressing the Commission. I appreciate that.

And, Chairman Armstrong, we look forward to an advance of this MLD Triple-T task force to a more current advisory group, continuing to allow us to scope all the issues. Another note of appreciation  — we certainly appreciate working together with TWA and others, and specifically with Clayton Wolf, Ron George, Doug Humphreys, and Scott Boruff. They have been pleasurable, to say the least, to accomplish the task we have recently.

Specifically on that, the Texas CWD management plan is near completion. It’s a well-dressed, upbeat presentation, saying, We understand and we have it under control. And I think that’s admirable.

So, collectively, now, we are no longer letting the unknown, or undiscussed issues, of looking for a disease, be worse than the disease itself. And some of you are proud not only of all of us but of Texas as well. For I believe together we’ll stay together, and diffuse any confusion, any hysteria on all issues; and deal fairly, squarely, and swiftly with any real challenges that face us.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any questions of Mr. Kinsel?

(No response.)


Ellis Gilleland and then David Langford.

MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland, speaking for Texas Animals, an animal rights organization on the internet. You’re receiving a handout, actually three handouts. They are three pages from the Texas Register, from September 27, 2002, December 13, 2002, and December 20, 2002.

To start in the middle, I want to mention that the scientific breeders permit, the 60  — well, in the last meeting, you passed a motion, a rule, 65.105  — I’m sorry 65.102, where you said, "Until this section is repealed no permits to trap, transfer, transport, and transplant white-tailed deer or mule deer shall be issued by the department." So all the people in Lakeway that wanted  — had a legal identifiable reason to trap and transport deer were denied  — you denied them  — a means to transfer deer unless they sacrificed 10 percent to be tested  — to be killed for tested.

Now, on this  — and this was your favorite child, the Texas Deer Association. And they’re trap and transport, if you turn to the handout that I just gave you, you will see that they are awarded the ability to trap and transport to their hearts desire. There is no restriction pertaining to them, 65.610, transport of deer and transport.

So the people that do not have a reason to trap and transport, other than a profit motive, you give them reason to do it. The people who do have a reason, like in Lakeway  — it says there, you deny them to trap and transport.

Going back to the scientific deer permit, breeder permit, which you have today, the statement, December 13 issue, says, "The testing requirements for imported deer are administrated on the rules of the Texas Animal Health Commission." That’s a lie. There is no testing by the Animal Health Commission. I beseeched you for over a year, to please do a monitoring and testing rule, which will take care of the testing.

Animal Health Commission does not do testing on white-tailed deer. They require the herd monitoring and so forth out of state. The people responsible are you people. And you refuse to do it.

The final statement I’d like to make  — another fraudulent statement you say on proposed rule December 20  — you say, "in that any mortality within a breeder facility will have to be tested for CWD." That’s a lie. You have never made a rule, despite my pleadings for over a year. Please test deer that are being killed by hunters, 500,000 of them. And please test and monitor deer in the pens. You’ve steadfastly denied me that, and refused the coherent need, which over a year, you keep fighting.

Moving on to the next fraudulent statement  — oh, well, okay  — sorry. I’ve got a red light. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: David Langford and Kirby Brown.

MR. LANGFORD: Thank you, Madame Chairman, members of the Commission. I’m David Langford, Texas Wildlife Association. I’d like to say two things. Number one, we support the staff on this proposal.

But, secondarily, and really more importantly, I’m not sure when we got in the task force business. But I want to beg and plead that we continue that way of doing business.

A lot of us in this room remember that it wasn’t too long ago you didn’t know whether  — when you came up here to the microphone whether you’re supposed to stand and face this way, or turn back around and talk to the people that had just come up, that you wanted to disagree with. Because everybody was all over the page. And nobody was communicating.

And it ended up, most of the time after we’d adjourned outside, that we would find, standing around in the little huddles with people from all facets of the diamond and with staff people, that we’re all on the same page after all. But we didn’t find that out until after all of this was over with.

So this task force process, for those of you that are going away  — one who just showed up, that’s, hopefully, when we get the three new ones, we will continue with this task force process. Because it sure has worked great.

Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Langford, I think it is  — I find it anyway  — I’m speaking personally  — so very helpful to have the use of task forces as a way to hear many, many good ideas, and some not so good ideas, but have the process distill some of those for the Commission and for me. Because I do believe that many heads are better than one. And I hope we do continue that for many years.

Kirby Brown?

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Madame Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Kirby Brown, Executive Vice President of Texas Wildlife Association.

I, too, just wanted to echo that we’re in favor of this. We think this is good. It’s been a good process.

Madame Chairman, we appreciate your leadership in this, and in bringing the people together that have had concerns, and dealing with these processes. It’s been great to work with the staff here at Parks and Wildlife, and what they’ve wanted to do, and the direction they’ve wanted to go  — with the landowners together in a real reasonable fashion.

So, thank you very much  — appreciate all of your efforts.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have no further public comment. Do we have any comments?

Commissioner Fitzsimons?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I’d like to thank everybody on that task force. I was able to go to that last meeting, MLD Triple-T task force. And it’s a process that does work, I think, as the Chairman noted.

I also wanted to thank our staff for working with those on the task force to streamline regulations. That’s not always the case, that state agencies look for opportunities to streamline regulations. Every time we need to do it, we should do it. And I want to thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any other comments?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: No? We’ll entertain a motion.




CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have a motion and a second. All in favor? Aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


Agenda item number ten is a briefing item, seagrass task force update.

Dr. Harvey, will you please make your presentation?

(Whereupon, a briefing ensued.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Agenda item number eleven has been tabled. That takes us to agenda item number twelve. It’s an action item, land donation and transfer in Val Verde and Brewster counties.

Jack Bauer, will you please make your presentation?

MR. BAUER: My name is Jack Bauer, Director of Land Conservation. This item represents a summary of two Conservation Committee land items heard in executive session yesterday, affecting Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County and Devil’s River State Natural Area in Val Verde County.

Two staff recommendations are included as a motion for consideration  — first, that Texas Parks and Wildlife accept donation of the 9,825-acre Brushy Canyon Preserve by the Nature Conservancy of Texas as an addition to the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area and second, that Texas Parks and Wildlife transfer a conservation easement of the lands making it Devil’s River State Natural Area to the Nature Conservancy of Texas; both actions being authorized under Parks and Wildlife Code 13.008, solicitation receipt and transfer of land.

Staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the motion before you, affecting these land transactions. And I will be happy to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any questions of Mr. Bauer.

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Bauer, I’ve had some questions asked about the taxes that have been paid by the Nature Conservancy to the county, or the school district, or whatever. And it’s my understanding that we would continue to honor those taxes if we accept this property.

MR. BAUER: That’s correct. We cannot pay taxes. We can pay payment in lieu of taxes. And we have federal aid reimbursement specifically for that, on those lands where we have federal aid interest. And, of course, Black Gap fits that bill.

This land may not  — we will have a mechanism to do that. If we reach a point where it’s not  — we don’t have the funding, or something arises where we can’t, the agreement with the Nature Conservancy is that this is a significantly enough important issue that the Conservancy will continue to pay those payments. Because we want to be sure that that continues.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Are there any other questions?

Commissioner Fitzsimons?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That arrangement, with regard to the payment in lieu of taxes, you say, is particularly in writing in this, or will be in the final documentation in this transaction?

MR. BAUER: Yes, it’s part of the proposal between our organizations that’s signed by both the executive directors. And I can recheck the  — I know it’s in that proposal that both agencies have signed.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think that’s important. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any other questions?

(No response.)


Do I have a motion?




CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I have a motion and second. All in favor? Aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. Thank you.

Agenda item number thirteen, also an action item, land acquisition in Hardin and Gonzales counties. Mr. Ray, would you please make your presentation?

MR. RAY: Yes, ma’am. I’m Ronnie Ray, Project Manager for the Land Conservation Program. This item is part of a land acquisition recommendation. The first one is at Village Creek State Park in Hardin County, the addition of approximately 40 acres. The second one is an addition of 12.27 acres of land in Gonzales County at Palmetto State Park.

The recommended motion is that the Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to require approximately 40 acres in Hardin County and approximately 12.27 acres in Gonzales County as adjacent additions to Village Creek State Park and Palmetto State Park, respectively.

I’ll answer any questions you may have now.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any questions of Mr. Ray, comments?

Commissioner Angelo?

COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Madame Chairman, I’d move approval on the recommendation.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do I have a second?


CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All in favor? Aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


MR. RAY: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Cook, is there any other business to come before this Commission today?

MR. COOK: Madame Chairman, there is not.

CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: This meeting is adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 12:00 p.m., this Public Hearing was concluded.)


                     Katharine Armstrong, Chairman

                     Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman

                     John Avila, Jr., Member

                     Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member

                     Alvin L. Henry, Member

                     Philip Montgomery, III, Member

                     Donato D. Ramos, Member

                     Kelly W. Rising, M.D.,             Member

                     Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member


MEETING OF:    Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

              Public Hearing

LOCATION:     Austin, Texas

DATE:         January 23, 2003

        I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 95, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.


                  (Transcriber)            (Date)

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