Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Amendment of Deed – Montgomery County
Approximately 0.8 Acre at Lake Houston Wilderness Park
January 21, 2021

I.    Executive Summary: The City of Houston (City) requests an amendment of the deed that transferred the former Lake Houston State Park, now referred to as Lake Houston Wilderness Park, to the City to allow vegetation clearing adjacent to an electric transmission line.

II.     Discussion: In the 1980s, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) acquired 4,920 acres of land straddling the Harris – Montgomery County Line bordered by Peach Creek and the East Fork of the San Jacinto River. Consisting of pine and hardwood forests, creeks, and swamps, the former Lake Houston State Park was open to the public, but very little development took place. In 2006, the City and Harris County, with more funding available for development, approached TPWD about transferring the park to the City in order that it might more fully realize the park’s potential to meet the recreational needs of the region.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) agreed to the transfer and the site was renamed Lake Houston Wilderness Park.  As a condition of the deed, the City is prohibited from using the Lake Houston Wilderness Park for non-recreational purposes.

Segment “H” of the Grand Parkway will run along the northern boundary of the park. TPWD and City staff worked with the Grand Parkway Association, Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration on highway siting and development strategies that would minimize impacts to the park and provide safe public access.  The final plan negotiated among the parties required the transfer of approximately ten acres of park land to TXDOT, and this transfer was authorized by the Commission in 2016. Of the ten acres, approximately six acres lying south of FM 1485 were protected by a reversion clause in the original deed. In May 2019, the Commission authorized the sale of the six-acre tract to TXDOT.

The alignment of the Grand Parkway necessitates the relocation of an existing Entergy Texas transmission line. The new alignment of the transmission line places the line closer to the southern boundary of the Grand Parkway and the northern boundary of the park. Maintaining required vegetation clearance from the transmission lines will necessitate the clearing of a strip of trees and brush 18 feet wide and 2,040 feet long adjacent to the six-acre tract TPWD sold to TXDOT last year. This strip of land, totaling 0.843 of an acre, is subject to the deed’s reversion clause. The City requests that the deed be amended such that this 0.834 of an acre is no longer subject to the provisions of the reversion clause.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.”

Attachments – 4

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Amendment of a Deed Conveying Land to the City of Houston for Use as a Public Park Known as Lake Houston Wilderness Park in Harris and Montgomery Counties


Whereas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) conveyed 4,920 acres of land now known as Lake Houston Wilderness Park (the Park) to the City of Houston (City) in 2006; and,

Whereas, the Grand Parkway Segment “H” will be a major thoroughfare for the region of Harris and Montgomery counties where the Park is located; and,

Whereas, TPWD and the City desire that there be good public access to the Park; and,

Whereas, TPWD and the City have worked with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Grand Parkway Association (GPA) to design the Grand Parkway in such a way as to maximize access to the Park while minimizing impacts to the Park’s natural, cultural, and aesthetic resources; and,

Whereas, the design of the Parkway recommended by staff of TPWD, TXDOT, FHA, and the GPA requires the relocation of a high-voltage transmission line owned and operated by Texas Entergy; and,

Whereas, the relocation of the Texas Entergy right-of-way will require the clearing of a 0.834-acre strip of land on the Park 18 feet wide by 2,040 feet long to meet transmission line safety regulations; and

Whereas, this 18-foot-wide strip of land is subject to a reversion clause in the deed of transfer that prohibits any use of the Park for non-park purposes; and,

Whereas, the City requests that the deed of transfer be modified to specifically account for and allow the use of this 0.834-acre strip of land for non-park purposes; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds that as required by Texas Parks and Wildlife Code (PWC) chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the subject tract in which such newspapers are published (Houston Chronicle in Harris County and The Courier in Montgomery County), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding this land transfer; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with PWC chapter 26, that (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use or taking of approximately 0.834 acres of the Park for safety and regulatory compliance; and (2) the program or project that requires the use or taking of land includes all reasonable planning to minimize harm to the Park; and,

Now, therefore, the Commission authorizes the Executive Director to make the necessary amendment to the deed of transfer for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution.

Adopted and approved this 21st day of January, 2021.

S. Reed Morian, Chairman

Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III, Vice-Chairman

James E. Abell, Member

Oliver J. Bell, Member

Anna B. Galo, Member

Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Member

Jeanne W. Latimer, Member

Robert L. “Bobby” Patton, Jr., Member

Dick Scott, Member

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit B

Location Map for Lake Houston Wilderness Park in Harris and Montgomery Counties

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for Lake Houston Wilderness Park,
25 Miles North of Houston

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit D

Site Map Showing Location of Requested Deed Amendment
Lake Houston Wilderness Park Outlined in Yellow
Area Affected by Deed Amendment in Red