77 groups come together to launch effort to educate Texans about $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund
THE WOODLANDS, TX — One of the aspects of beauty in The Woodlands area is that it is bordered on the north side by the WG Jones State Forest. On this, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of state parks in Texas, a new coalition has formed to help maintain the greenery-based beauty of the area and the state beyond.
On November 7, Texans will have the opportunity to vote statewide on Proposition 14, a Constitutional Amendment that will create the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. The $1 billion fund will help secure new parks for future generations of Texans to explore and enjoy without increasing taxes. To educate Texans about this amendment, the Texas Coalition for State Parks — a diverse range of 77 organizations from around the state—has come together to support this once-in-a-generation effort to grow Texas parks.
“The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund would provide dependable, long-term funding for new park acquisition that will protect the unique natural and cultural treasures of Texas, creating the opportunity to ensure our state parks thrive for generations to come,” said State Senator Tan Parker, who filed the Senate bill that paved the way for the fund to make it on the November ballot.
“The fund would be an essential tool in ensuring Texans have access to public park lands for generations to come,” said State Rep. Armando Walle, who sponsored the bill in the Texas House. “This effort is a transformational effort, a Teddy Roosevelt kind of initiative.”
Earlier this year, legislation to place the fund on the ballot passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. In every poll on parks in the last two decades, Texans have signaled strong support for state parks. In fact, 77% of voters said they would support the constitutional amendment in a poll conducted this summer.
“Open spaces are critical to our quality of life,” said Joseph Fitzsimons, former Chairman of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission and Co-Founder of the Texas Coalition for State Parks. “The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund would help protect the places we love to hike, bike, fish, picnic, view wildlife, and spend time with family. I encourage all Texans to vote yes on Proposition 14 so more Texans will have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors.”
Texas State Parks attract nearly 10 million visitors annually, and the current supply of state parks cannot keep up with the demand of the state's growing population. The fund will allow the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to buy land from willing sellers when unique properties that would make for beautiful state parks become available. Investing in parks conserves land and water resources, which protects Texas’ quality of life so future generations of Texans and visitors can enjoy the land, water, and natural beauty the way it currently is.
The Texas Coalition for State Parks is a diverse range of organizations from land and water conservation to business, agricultural, wildlife, and sportsmen’s organizations. A full list of organizations involved in this effort can be found on the following page.
Texas Coalition for State Parks Members:
Access Fund | American Farmland Trust | Apache Corporation | Association of Nature Center Administrators | Audubon Texas | Austin Outside | Austin Parks Foundation | Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Biking Club | Backcountry Hunters & Anglers | Bayou Land Conservancy | Bayou Preservation Association | Bexar Audubon Society | Bike Houston | Bike Texas | Blunn Creek Partnership | Braun & Gresham, PLLC | Buffalo Bayou Partnership | Caddo Lake Institute | Cibolo Nature Center and Farm | Coastal Prairie Conservancy | Comal County Conservation Alliance | Creating Common Ground | Defenders of Wildlife | Ducks Unlimited, Texas Chapter | El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association | Environment Texas | Environmental Defense Fund | Fellowship Southwest | Fin & Fur Films | Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge | Frontera Land Alliance | Galveston Bay Foundation | Great Plains Restoration Council | Great Springs Project | Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance | Green Spaces Alliance | Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust | Gulf of Mexico Trust | Hershey Ranch | Hill Country Alliance | Hill Country Conservancy | Houston Audubon | Houston Parks Board | Houston Wilderness | Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club | McMacCX | National Parks Conservation Association | Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Inc. | Safari Club International - Houston Chapter | San Marcos River Foundation | Save Buffalo Bayou | Stewards of The Wild | Texans for State Parks | Texas 2036 | Texas Agricultural Land Trust | Texas Center for Policy Studies| Texas Children In Nature | Texas Conservation Alliance | Texas Foundation for Conservation | Texas Impact | Texas Interfaith Power and Light | Texas Land Conservancy | Texas Land Trust Council | Texas Outdoor Partners | Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation | Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) | Texas Rivers Protection Association | Texas Travel Alliance | Texas Wildlife Association | The Conservation Fund | The Nature Conservancy | The Watershed Association | Travis Audubon Society | Travis County Parks Foundation | Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association | Trust for Public Land | Zilker 351