Friday, November 02, 2007

Christmas Mountains

Next Tuesday, Nov. 6th, the Texas School Land Board will vote whether or not to sell the Christmas Mountains to private interests. The Christmas Mountains property contains most of the Christmas Mountains and is adjacent to Big Bend National Park. When the property was sold to the Texas General Land Office, the owner made an agreement with the then GLO land commissioner that the land be kept public and if the land was transferred, it could only be to the National Park Service or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept, or else the owner would have to be consulted.

The National Park Service has recently expressed interest in obtaining the property to add to Big Bend National Park, but the current land commissioner does not want the property to go to the NPS, due to the Park Service's prohibitions on hunting and firearms. In addition, the current commissioner is not interested in checking with the previous owners to make sure that they approve of the sale - disregarding the owners agreement with the previous land commissioner.

I suppose the land commissioner is hoping that the land will go to private hands that will responsibly manage the lands and allow hunting, but I think that can be a gamble, plus I feel it's a shame that the land commissioner is not interested in adding more public land to Texas. According to some stats that I have looked up, less than 5% of land in Texas is public (I've found as little as 2%). In contrast, approximately 60% of land in Utah is public land! And honestly, this is one big reason why I really enjoy it in Utah. You can easily drive 20 minutes in every direction from our house and hike and camp! :) Also, I am biased, but Big Bend is really an incredible, special place and one of my most favorite national parks so far.

If you oppose the sale of the Christmas Mountains to private interests, here's a link to the petition:
For more info, here are some articles:

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