On Wednesday, March 23rd, the House Appropriations Committee voted 18-7 in favor of a
state budget that would make major cuts to our state parks system. This budget
could force the closure of at least seven state parks, drastically reduce
services at the rest, and eliminate funding for local parks and playgrounds. This threatens the natural spaces that many of us want to preserve and enjoy, and it does not make economic sense considering that out-of-state visitors to our parks spent $283 million in local Texas communities — a big help to the economy.
The Appropriations Committee did honor some of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TWPD) requests for flexibility in how its budget is cut, but it did not approve key capital needs. And now the TPWD's budget considerations are moving to the Texas Senate.
Janice Bezanson, Executive Director of the Texas Conservation Alliance, is urging concerned residents to contact their state senators asking them to:
- Support the recommendations of the Texas House Appropriations Committee.
- Adopt TPWD’s requests for partial reinstatement of capital budget funding and $32 million in bond authority for capital repairs needed to maintain state park facilities in a safe, usable condition.
- Urge them to leave it to TPWD to decide what it cuts. The more flexibility, the less impact on state parks and natural resources.
If you don't know who your state senator is, you can go to Texas State Senate and on the left side of that page, clicking on “Senators” and then “Directory”. You can also find your legislator by going to Texas Legislature Online and entering your address into the box 'Who Represents Me." You can also visit Environment Texas for more information.