I urge you in your position as a member of the Conference Committee on House Bill 1, the state appropriations bill, to support and work for full funding of our Texas state parks system and the local parks grants program administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Please appropriate not only money to address current operation and maintenance needs at state parks but also to fund acquisition of new state parkland.
In 2006 the State Parks Advisory Committee appointed to review the operation of the state parks system and local parks grants found that our parks have been seriously under-funded.
The Committee recommended in its August 2006 report that the Parks and Wildlife Department be given an additional $85 million a year ($170 million for the biennium) for state and local parks over and above what the Texas Legislature appropriated to the agency for parks programs for 2006 and 2007.
Over the last year and a half a number of statewide elected
officials and state legislators have promised that state
and local parks would get the funding they needed. Now, with
only a month left in the legislative session, it’s time for
those promises to be fulfilled.
Unfortunately neither the House nor the Senate version of
HB 1 appropriate the full funding for state and local parks
recommended by the State Parks Advisory Committee –especially
lacking are sufficient funds for state park operations and
for acquisition of new parkland for our growing population.
Please act in conference committee to provide the additional $85 million a year in park needs identified by the Advisory Committee.
State parks and local parks in Texas – and the opportunities for outdoor recreation they provide – are
critical to our quality of life, our economy, and our health
Please restore our park system to excellence for our families and our future.