Environment
5:33 pm
Tue November 2, 2010

TPWD Postpones Vote On Devil's River Land Deal

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have postponed a vote this week that would have finalized a land deal along the Devil's River in Val Verde County near Del Rio.

The vote was postponed pending a public briefing planned for tomorrow at the Texas Parks and Wildlife commission's Conservation Committee.

As KUT previously reported, Texas owns Devil’s River State Natural Area, almost 20,000 acres of remote, rugged park land with seven primitive campsites. The area is popular with kayakers and canoers traveling down the river. Under terms of the proposed deal, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would swap that for a land parcel downstream about 2,000 acres smaller than the current Devil’s River state natural area. TPWD would also pay ranch owner Rod Sanders $7.9 million.

“About two million of that will be coming from state acquisition dollars, another two million dollars from federal Land and Water funds that are available to us to promote outdoor recreation and access to facilitate that, and then the balance will be coming from private donations,” said [Carter] Smith, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Today in a press release, Smith said, "This is unquestionably the right and responsible course of action. We have heard loudly and clearly from trusted partners, stakeholders, and many interested citizens, many of whom have requested more time to consider this project."

TPWD officials will hear a public breifing on the Devil's River land deal at 9 a.m., Wednesday, November 3. Depending on what happens at the meeting, TPWD staff say they are ready to set more public meetings about the project soon.