Naked City

Big Bend Ranch State Park not for sale

A proposal to sell off the northern arm of Big Bend Ranch 
State Park went down in flames after an overwhelmingly 
negative public outcry.<br> Click <a href=BigBendRanch.jpg 
target=blank><b>here</b></a> for a larger image
A proposal to sell off the northern arm of Big Bend Ranch State Park went down in flames after an overwhelmingly negative public outcry.
Click here for a larger image

Nature lovers sprang into action last week when it came to light that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was considering selling 46,000 acres, or roughly one-sixth of the Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas, including the flowing waters of Cienega Springs and numerous archeological sites. The potential buyer was neighboring Cibolo Creek Ranch resort owner and Houston businessman John Poindexter. He was to get the park for the bargain price of roughly $45 an acre.

After hundreds of e-mails and two days' worth of speakers condemned the sale, however, the parks commission rejected Poindexter's offer Thursday. TPWD spokesman Tom Harvey described Poindexter as a "conservation steward" who was the recipient of an award for restoring his land's natural habitat. Harvey also pointed out that the headwaters of Cienega Springs originate on Poindexter's property. Questioned about whether his resort's use of the waters may one day threaten creek flow to the park, Poindexter told the Statesman, "It is mine to do with as I wish. It will be used sooner or later by myself or my successors." Before the parks commission decision, Austin attorney John Stratton offered to outbid Poindexter at $50 per acre with plans to donate the land back to the parks department, according to Sierra Club state director Ken Kramer. If the offer still stands, Kramer says, the funds can be put to good use in addressing wilderness access issues in the park.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

state parks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Cibolo Ranch Resort, John, Poindexter, Tom Harvey, Cienega Springs, John Stratton, Sierra Club, Ken Kramer

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