Stop raiding the fund
Parks make life better in Texas
Jan 27, 2013 | 985 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas. They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle.

But our parks are in trouble. Due to budget cuts, at least 20 state parks may close this year and state grants for local parks and playgrounds have been eliminated.

After more than 96 percent of its majestic pines were lost to wildfires, Bastrop State Park desperately needs funds to restore the park to its former beauty. Many parks, like Devils Sinkhole, had to reduce operations to just a few days a week, repairs to critical infrastructure like wastewater systems have been put off and state grants to local parks were eliminated. Operations at the Parrie Haynes Youth Ranch—a 4,525-acre park on the Lampasas River with miles of horseback riding trails and ropes courses—ended.

We can do more to keep our parks safe and open. In fact, our parks already have a dedicated funding stream—sales taxes on sporting goods—but for too long, the Legislature has raided the fund, diverting the money for other purposes and leaving just the bones for our cash-strapped parks system.

That’s why Environment Texas is calling on our lawmakers and local elected officials to stop pillaging this fund and give our parks the money and protection they deserve and need to stay open.

Together, we can save our parks. The Environment Texas staff has been knocking on doors across the state to educate Texans about what’s at stake. They’re also testifying in the Legislature, building a coalition of environmental groups and recreation businesses, and shining the spotlight in the media on the need to protect our state parks. But the real key to winning the fight is you. With your support, they can force the Legislature to keep parks open. If enough of us speak out, we can save Texas parks.

For more information, go to www.environmenttexas. org.
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