35 Acres to be Added to World Birding Center Headquarters
AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its regular meeting this month in Austin approved the donation of 35 acres along the northeastern border of the World Birding Center Headquarters in the Rio Grande Valley south of Mission.
The donation from Mike Rhodes of Bentsen Palm Development consists of two tracts of land along Military Road surrounded by Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, which is home to the headquarters of the World Birding Center. The 760-acre state park is one of nine WBC sites strung along the Rio Grande Valley’s historic 120-mile river road from Roma to the tip of Texas dedicated to Texas’ world-class avian population.
Rhodes’ donation, appraised at almost $39,000 by Hidalgo County, will protect the scenic integrity of the park entrance, provide additional native habitat and offer additional recreational opportunities, according to Corky Kuhlman, Land Conservation Program project manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The Bentsen Family, which purchased roughly 3,000 acres in the area years ago between the Rio Grande and City of Mission, donated 544 acres for a state park. It had expanded to 587 acres before opening to the public in 1962. The new land donation will expand the park’s size to almost 800 acres.
Rhodes also has donated land in the past to help Mission land the World Birding Center headquarters and for the establishment of the nearby headquarters of the North American Butterfly Association. As a result, thousands of visitors flock to the area to see the amazing variety of butterflies, dragonflies and such tropical birds, as the green jay, Altamira oriole and great kiskadee.
Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park is located on FM 2062 (South Bentsen Palm Drive) several miles southwest of Mission. For additional park information, call (956) 584-9156.