TX Policy News - Friends of Crossbar Partnership & Prop 14 Passage

Friends of Crossbar Special Recreation Management Area Partnership Announcement

The Texas Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) is happy to announce a recent partnership with Friends of Crossbar Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA). Friends of Crossbar SRMA is a 501.3c non-profit organization that aims to support the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cross Bar SRMA by creating public access, enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities, and developing recreational facilities and amenities for public use, education, and enjoyment. 

Their vision is to transform the Cross Bar SRMA into a first-rate outdoor recreational facility, promoting outdoor activities, conservation awareness, and education, providing personal wellness opportunities, and enhancing regional economic vitality.

Texas BHA is committed to ensuring Texas and North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.  We hope to enhance Texan’s access and opportunities to public lands and waters through this partnership.

The Crossbar SRMA is 11,883 BLM land on the Canadian River northwest of Amarillo in Potter County.  Crossbar SRMA is the only BLM land in the state of Texas.  Crossbar is landlocked and can only be accessed through private property or by navigating the Canadian River.  Currently, you can hike, bike, horseback ride, camp, and archery hunt, all managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) and the BLM.  The Crossbar SRMA will be developed for specifically identified and planned outdoor recreational uses: mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping. Currently, the Crossbar is used mainly by hunters through a cooperative effort with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Crossbar offers rugged canyons, sweeping vistas, bountiful wildlife, and remnants of the only remaining virgin shortgrass prairie on the Southern Great Plains, making the Crossbar SRMA an attractive recreation venue for the region.  Each year, Crossbar sees and feels an increase in visits and a growing demand for public access. Private and public stakeholders have voiced overwhelming support for the development of Crossbar SRMA.  The BLM is also working on converting what is not part of the virgin shortgrass prairie back to its native state, as you can watch here.

Crossbar SRMA has been an ongoing multiple-use undertaking. Abandoned gas wells have been plugged in to safeguard groundwater sources. Volunteers have built multiple miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails (motorized vehicles are prohibited on the Cross Bar). Encroachment of mesquite and cholla cactus has been mitigated through herbicide and mechanical treatments, prescribed burns, and livestock grazing. Feral hogs are proactively managed through a cooperative agreement with the Texas Wildlife Services.

Please visit their websites to learn more about and support Friends of Crossbar SRMA and Crossbar SRMA.

Texans Vote to Pass Proposition 14, The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund

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, 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 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.

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).

About Ryan Buege

Policy Chair for the Texas Chapter of BHA. He lives, hunts, and fishes in Central Texas.

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