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May 4, 2012
Lease for Lake Texana State Park Proposed to be Terminated
Park operations expected to be continued by Lavaca Navidad River Authority
EDNA — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has informed the Lavaca Navidad River Authority that it plans to terminate the lease of LNRA property that provides for Lake Texana State Park, subject to formal action of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and concurrence by the LNRA Board of Directors. LNRA officials have indicated that they will take over operation of the park when the lease is terminated.
In a letter delivered to LNRA on May 3, TPWD cited the ongoing funding shortfall brought about by reduced state park appropriations and last year’s record heat, drought and wildfires, which caused a precipitous drop in park visitation and revenues across the state.
“Continued operation of Lake Texana State Park is no longer feasible for TPWD due to serious financial constraints to our state park system,” Texas State Parks Director Brent Leisure said today. “We are proud to have served as the steward of this site for more than three decades. The Lavaca-Navidad River Authority has been a valued partner for many years and we are comforted to know they intend to carry on the tradition of operating this park with continued public access for outdoor recreation.”
TPWD has operated the 575-acre park under a 50-year lease originally executed in 1977 with the Bureau of Reclamation/LNRA and amended in 2003 with a restated lease agreement with LNRA. The state park, which opened to the public in 1981, provides public access to 10,000-acre Lake Texana that provides fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities for more than 40,000 visitors each year.
The Lavaca-Navidad River Authority was created in 1941 for the purpose of controlling, storing, preserving, and distributing the storm and flood waters, and the waters of the rivers and streams of Jackson County, and their tributaries, for all useful and beneficial purposes. In addition to owning the state park property, LNRA has statutory authority to provide public recreation opportunities and currently owns/operates several recreation facilities on Lake Texana, including the Brackenridge Recreation Complex and Mustang Wilderness Campground, and leases/operates the county-owned Mauritz Camp.
“While we are disappointed with the department’s decision to terminate its operation here in Jackson County, we understand that the decision made by TPWD is a direct result of the confidence they have in LNRA’s ability to provide quality sustainable outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities for the public,” said Patrick Brzozowski, LNRA general manager. “Saying this, however, doesn’t lessen the burden that’s being placed on us.
“Over the coming months, we will work with TPWD to define a transition process to make this transfer as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Upon concurrence of LNRA’s Board of Directors, our first order of business will be to examine our current recreation operation and determine how best to incorporate the state park amenities to create a unified park system.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will be briefed on the proposed termination of the lease and transition of park operations to LNRA at the commission’s regular meeting on May 23 at the TPWD Headquarters in Austin. A local public meeting is expected to be held this summer.
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