Presenter: Scott Boruff

Commission Agenda Item No. 20
Land Donation - Hamilton County
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has negotiated a transfer of approximately 220.14-acres of land with improvements in Hamilton County from the Police Activities League of Texas for eventual conversion of land use to a game warden training facility. This item describes the details of the proposed land transaction for Commission consideration.

II. Discussion: The Police Activities League of Texas (PAL) has developed a youth camp complex on approximately 244.51-acres east of FM1047, four miles north of Star in Hamilton County. The facility is used for training and development of youth, mostly from large urban areas. The facility includes six cabins, dining hall, administrative building, and guesthouse all constructed since 1990. PAL approached TPWD some time ago about sharing use of the facility or transferring ownership of a portion of the facility to offset recent inadequate funding of operational expenses associated with the facility.

In March 2004, TPWD staff initiated formal evaluations of the property and discussions with PAL to consider use or transfer of the facility as a permanent location to train TPWD game wardens. Additional new development will be required to meet the majority of needs for a game warden training academy. Staff has negotiated an agreement with PAL to permanently transfer 220.14-acres containing the majority of infrastructure to TPWD. The agreement will include allowing PAL use of the facility during a short period of the summer to hold a youth encampment.

During the last Texas legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed legislation allowing TPWD to sell the Austin Training Academy and utilize the revenue to acquire and develop a new game warden academy. The value of Austin Training Academy is estimated at $1,100,000.

A public hearing was held in Hamilton at the Hamilton County District Courtroom on Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 7:00 p.m regarding the development of the current PAL Ranch as a Texas Game Warden Training Center. Contacts with the public and with the public officials in Hamilton County have been very positive.

III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to accept approximately 220.14-acres of real property in Hamilton County from the Police Activities League of Texas primarily for development of a TPWD game warden training academy, so long as PAL and the Department develop legal instruments for use of the property that allows the Department to fully meet its objectives relative to future land use."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Property Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 20
Exhibit A

Property Map