In support of wild places and more public access, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 14 at the polls earlier this month, dedicating significant money to acquire and develop new state parks.
The Texas Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is thrilled with the overwhelming support shown by voters in passing Proposition 14, The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. The fund made up of a portion of a state budget surplus, will dedicate $1 billion to create additional new parks across the state, which is the most significant investment in parks in our history, without increasing taxes. This is a substantial public land and access win, especially in the centennial year of Texas State Parks and the 60th anniversary of the merger with the Texas Game and Fish Commission, which formed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
With the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, TPWD will have the ability to acquire and develop more state parks for Texans, which will ultimately lead to more access and opportunity, including fishing and hunting, as well as public spaces to enjoy the beauty of our wild places for future generations.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Texas State Parks thanks to the unwavering support from the Texans who voted to adopt Proposition 14,” said David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “This historic vote confirms the value Texans place on conserving outdoor spaces for the enjoyment of all Texans.”
Texas State Parks currently consists of 89 parks, historic sites, and natural areas that about 10 million people visit annually. As Texas now only has about five percent of public land, the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund's passing allows more wild places for public access for a growing population of more than 30 million people.
Ryan Buege, Texas BHA’s Policy Chair, stated, “The passing of the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund will significantly improve our ability to preserve and protect our varied and unique natural and cultural resources, simultaneously making them accessible to our ever-growing population and demand for public land.”
The Texas Chapter of BHA commends the Texas state legislature in approving Senate Bill 1648 and Senate Joint Resolution 74, authored by State Senator Tan Parker (R-District 12) and sponsored by State Representatives Armando Walle (D-District 140) and Justin Holland (R-District 33).
Ryan Buege is the Policy Chair for the Texas Chapter of BHA. He lives, hunts, and fishes in Central Texas.