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Devils River Paddle Trips are in Danger!! Action is Needed to keep Public Access

  • 83 Replies
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Offline bjbriggs

  • Diamondback
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  • 259
Here is a reply, I received about the Devils River.


Mr. Briggs,

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding TPWD's Devils River Ranch
project. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has not made a final
determination regarding this project. On November 4, 2010, the
Commission will decide whether or not to authorize the Executive
Director to continue project evaluation potentially resulting in a
transaction. Public use planning for the site is only conceptual at this
point. TPWD's goal is to improve public access to this spectacular
Devils River, while protecting fragile natural and cultural resources
and respecting the rights of other property owners on the river. We are
aware that transfer of the State Natural Area (SNA) will affect paddlers
who currently enjoy paddling the reach from Bakers Crossing to the SNA,
and are looking into alternatives for preserving that recreational
opportunity.

There will be opportunities for the public to voice concerns,
suggestions or support for the project at public meetings to be held in
Del Rio and in San Antonio, or to testify before the TPW Commission on
November 4. For more details about the proposed transaction please visit
the press release on TPWD's home page.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=20101012a

In the mean time, your comment has been added to the public comment
record.

Sincerely,

Ted Hollingsworth
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Land Conservation Director
(512) 389-4520 office
(512) 389-4469 fax

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SHANEA

  • Guest
and here is the comment I just received.


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Offline homerboy2u

  • The Chipewa Cris tribe,Canada:
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 5103
This Kerr guy, just doesn't let go. Already in less than 24 hours more comments posted on YouTube, none of them good......I have never been to Devils River nor met this Kerr TexasLawman, all i can say from what i have been reading is that he is in desperate need of some etiquette training and i am willing to offer it.

 And yes, there is a lot of conflict of interest, from what i am reading. More and more, i am coming to terms, for the time being, that you paddlers need to check out Rio Muzquiz and the San Rodrigo river. If it is purity your seeking ,you will not get disappointed. I can not compare these two pristine turquoise clear water rivers to the Devils River, but i do not need to, with that PR at the helm.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline bjbriggs

  • Diamondback
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  • 259
This Kerr guy, just doesn't let go. Already in less than 24 hours more comments posted on YouTube, none of them good......I have never been to Devils River nor met this Kerr TexasLawman, all i can say from what i have been reading is that he is in desperate need of some etiquette training and i am willing to offer it.

 And yes, there is a lot of conflict of interest, from what i am reading. More and more, i am coming to terms, for the time being, that you paddlers need to check out Rio Muzquiz and the San Rodrigo river. If it is purity your seeking ,you will not get disappointed. I can not compare these two pristine turquoise clear water rivers to the Devils River, but i do not need to, with that PR at the helm.

They need to transfer Kerr out of there.  He acts like this is his on personal River........

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Offline bjbriggs

  • Diamondback
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  • 259

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Offline cjacob

  • Diamondback
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  • 306
look at some of the commits on this youtube video.  It looks like they are already stopping people from going there.

!

 WOW!!!...this Park Ranger Kerr Wardlaw, sure has gain some notoriety in Youtube. The comments are just unbelievable. :eusa_snooty:

Wardlaw's have some nice land there on the Devils, and some in Mexico. 

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Offline cjacob

  • Diamondback
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  • 306
This Kerr guy, just doesn't let go. Already in less than 24 hours more comments posted on YouTube, none of them good......I have never been to Devils River nor met this Kerr TexasLawman, all i can say from what i have been reading is that he is in desperate need of some etiquette training and i am willing to offer it.

 And yes, there is a lot of conflict of interest, from what i am reading. More and more, i am coming to terms, for the time being, that you paddlers need to check out Rio Muzquiz and the San Rodrigo river. If it is purity your seeking ,you will not get disappointed. I can not compare these two pristine turquoise clear water rivers to the Devils River, but i do not need to, with that PR at the helm.

Kerr's Family Land is not far from the current park. 
They need to transfer Kerr out of there.  He acts like this is his on personal River........

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Offline leigh

  • Coyote
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  • 129
Here's the email I received from Tom Goynes yesterday. Breaks it down pretty well I think.
As others have already stated please consider emailing Hollingsworth.

On October 13, I received the news release that is attached below (dated
October 12).  It pertains to a plan that the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department (TPWD) has to trade the Devils River State Natural Area (DRSNA)
plus 8 million dollars in cash for a smaller tract of land further down the
Devils River known as the Devils River Ranch (DRR).  The plan was first made
?public? at a brown bag lunch that the executive director of TPWD holds
several times a year with a few representatives of various conservation
organizations (like the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and
the Audubon Society).  As far as we can tell, no representatives of paddling
groups were present at that meeting.

There are some major problems that we see with this land swap:

1) The state would be losing, rather than gaining natural area (from the
current 19,988 acres down to 17,600 acres).  And, while the state would be
getting more waterfront (approximately 5 miles of ?riverfront? and 5 miles
of lakefront ? compared with the 1.5 miles of riverfront in the DRSNA) most
of that waterfront would be flat water that is adversely affected by the
winds coming off Lake Amistad.  It should also be noted that the DRR is
adjacent to the Amistad National Recreation Area, which is 58,500 acres in
size, and contains numerous opportunities for camping, hiking, boating and
other outdoor activities.

2) The 8 million dollars of additional money that the state will have to pay
to conclude this ?swap? will use up all of the land acquisition money
available to the TPWD and still leave a shortfall of 2 million dollars.  (We
have been told that TPWD has 4 million dollars of land acquisition money,
they will get an anonymous gift of 2 million dollars if they swap this land,
and they will need to find the remaining 2 million dollars somewhere).

3) Even if the state can come up with the 8 million dollars to acquire this
property, they will still need to find monies to complete a management plan
(approximately $650,000) and construction and maintenance funds for this new
park.  There are simply better ways for the state to spend its limited
resources.

4) The loss of the DRSNA will mean that fly-fishermen, canoeists and
kayakers wishing to run the Devils will lose the only public campsite that
currently exists between Hwy 163 and Lake Amistad.  At this time, paddlers
can launch early in the morning at Bakers Crossing and make it to the
primitive camping area at the DRSNA (about 15 miles by river) before dark.
Currently, paddlers can use the DRSNA as a put in (it could be used as a
take out as well, with a change in policy) to run the ten-mile section of
river from the DRSNA to the private take out in the Blue Sage Subdivision.

We would suggest, as an alternative to this planned swap, that the state use
its limited funds to:

1) Acquire (or develop) a put in near the Hwy 163 crossing.  (If the owners
of Bakers Crossing are willing to sell, that would make a great
acquisition).

2) Acquire (through purchase, lease or agreement) certain river accessible
sites that can be used by river users for lunch spots and/or campsites.
This would help eliminate many of the "trespass" issues related to running
the Devils.

3) Acquire a take out - either in the vicinity of the current Blue Sage take
out, or possibly a portion of the DRR.  (Paddlers don't need 17,000 acres of
property for campsites, put ins or take outs - they need much smaller tracts
of land).

We would also suggest that the state should modify its policy at the DRSNA:

Allow paddlers to have the combination to the gate to the river access area
and allow paddlers to drive there to launch or take out their craft.  Allow
paddlers to leave their vehicles in a safe area, out of the floodway, and
considerably closer to the river than the current parking area that is 1.5
miles from the river.  That way, paddlers could use the DRSNA as a put in or
a take out.

It would also be helpful if the state would either put in composting toilets
at the designated primitive campsites, or mandate that river users carry out
all solid human waste.  The state should encourage zero impact camping.

To help eliminate altercations between river users and landowners, it might
also be necessary for the state to instigate a river permit system for
running the Devils, which would require certain equipment (like fire pans
and portable toilets) in a manner similar to the system the National Park
System employs in Big Bend National Park.

If you agree with the above statements, it is very important that you convey
your thoughts to the TPWD.  You have three possibilities to do so:

1) Plan to attend the hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26 in San
Antonio Texas at the Central Public Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio, TX
(210) 207-2500

2) Plan to attend the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting at 9
a.m. on November 4, in the Commission Hearing Room at TPWD headquarters,
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744

3) Send a letter to Ted Hollingsworth, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744.  Or e-mail him at:
ted.hollingsworth@tpwd.state.tx.us

Your opinion is important, and we need you to express it if we are to save
our access to the Devils River.  Thanks!

Tom Goynes
President
Texas Rivers Protection Association
444 Pecan Park Drive
San Marcos, TX
78666
512-392-6171
e-mail: tomgoynes@mac.com
 




Oct. 12, 2010
Media Contact: Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.state.tx.us
TPWD Proposes Land Acquisition for New State Park on Devils River
AUSTIN, Texas ? The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 4 will
consider a proposal to acquire a 17,638-acre property for a new state park
on the Devils River in Val Verde County. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
leaders will hold public meetings about the proposal Oct. 20 in Del Rio and
Oct. 26 in San Antonio.
The proposal would result in the exchange of the existing Devils River State
Natural Area as partial payment for a privately owned ranch downriver, which
would become a new state park. The ranch has significantly more river
frontage and better public access as well as outstanding natural and
cultural features.
?By repositioning our existing assets along the Devils River, we can
increase public access to and awareness of this spectacular river, as well
as expand protection of this region?s uniquely important natural and
cultural resources,? said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director.
?A permanent conservation easement on the existing state natural area
property will prevent unsuitable development and ensure continued protection
there,? Smith said. ?The new property, which is also protected by a
conservation easement, will become a premiere park to boost the regional
economy and provide enhanced recreation options to Texans for decades to
come.?
The ranch has 10 miles of frontage on the Devils River and Amistad Reservoir
with spectacular views from mesas and canyons, and a variety of wildlife
habitats.
If the commission approves this proposal, TPWD is committed to a
comprehensive master planning process, involving a broad spectrum of
stakeholders, including landowners, paddlers, traditional park users, and
local officials, resulting in a public use plan outlining how and when
people can enjoy the property.
?The agency?s goal is to balance landowner rights along the river with
public recreational access and effective stewardship of this region?s
incredible natural and cultural resources,? says Scott Boruff, Deputy
Executive Director of Operations.
The department is working to inform elected officials, Devils River
landowners, key stakeholder groups and the public about the proposal. The
agency will hold two formal public meetings where they will explain the
proposal and answer questions:
6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20 ? Del Rio Civic Center, Mesquite Room, 1915
Veteran?s Blvd., Del Rio, TX (830-774-8641)
6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26 ? Central Public Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio,
TX (210) 207-2500
The public may comment on the proposal at the Nov. 4 Texas Parks and
Wildlife Commission meeting in Austin.
Questions or comments about the proposal can be sent by email to
ted.hollingsworth@tpwd.state.tx.us  or by regular mail to Ted Hollingsworth,
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX
78744.
PHOTOS of the ranch property proposed for acquisition are available for news
media use as high resolution .jpg files that can be downloaded from the News
Images area of the TPWD website.
?
On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/?g=devils_river_land_acqui
sition

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SHANEA

  • Guest
Here is the email I sent to Hollingsworth on Friday.

Quote
From:
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2010 3:47 PM
To: Ted Hollingsworth
Subject: RE: [SPAM] RE: Devils River

Hello Ted,

I would like to go on official record that I oppose this land swap.  My opposition stems from:

1.  Loss of access to the upstream portion of the Devils River making it virtually impossible to complete a paddling trip.

2.  TPWD is already cash strapped to be taking on this endeavor.

3.  TPWD already has SNA's that are sitting idle and are in need of funding such as Chinati SNA located between Presidio and Marfa.

4.  TPWD, due to state of Texas estimated budget shortfalls in the coming years, is more than likely going to see their available funds dwindle.

5.  If TPWD has funds available, then the infrastructure at the existing Devils River SNA should be improved to gain better access for more people.

6.  If TPWD does have funding available, then it should be spent on opening up the existing Chinati SNA.

7.  If TPWD does have funding available, then the Christmas Mountains tract located adjacent to the Big Bend National Park should be procured from the State of Texas GLO.   

Best Regards,

and the reply I got back

Quote
From:   
"Ted Hollingsworth" <Ted.Hollingsworth@tpwd.state.tx.us>   (Add as Preferred Sender)   
Date:   Fri, Oct 22, 2010 9:49 pm
To:   

Thanks! I will add your comments to the record.

Sincerely,

Ted Hollingsworth
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Land Conservation Director
(512) 389-4520 office
(512) 389-4469 fax

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Offline Jacquepete

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 3
I am a citizen in Del Rio and would like the public to know a little fact about the river swap that the TPWD is stretching!!!

In the press releases and in the public meeting TPWD are stating that they are gaining 10 miles of river front!

To say that the public is going to gain access to 10 miles of river front through this exchange is misleading!!!
Approximately 4 - 5 miles of it is already open to the public because of the Amistad Recreation Area!!!

If you are against this Swap please email Mr. Ted Hollingsworth at ted.hollingsworth@tpwd.state.tx.us



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Offline Jacquepete

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 3
Oh...I just found out!!!

Of the 5 miles that are not in the Amistad Recreation Area, only about 1 and 1/2 miles are truly accessible to the river due to the natural terrain (ie bluffs, cliffs).

So basically when you get down to it, TPWD is trading 20,000 acres plus 8 MILLION dollars for 1 and 1/2 miles of actual accessible river front! CRAZY!!!

I just created a group on facebook "Say No to the Devils River Swap" If you feel the same way, please join the group. Let's not sit back and watch TPWD take away the current Devils River Natural Area!!! Let our voices be heard.

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Offline rosco

  • Roadrunner
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  • 64
    • SouthWest BackPack
when something like this happens what can be done?  vote the governor out who is funded by huge corporations that brainwash the voters?  try getting your neighbors to stop eating tyson grown chicken ...would be easier

what/where are the controls to stop this? 

i'm emailing too and getting the same responses.  blah, blah, blah...  same rhetoric with the BBNP who said the construction had been stopped until i told them it was being broadcast on this site.  then they said it will stop.  did it?  nope, now they've got the basin closed down for some serious environmental destruction.  it goes without saying, i was lied to by my government.  as i type, the plants there are breathing the toxic fumes of the black top.  balls.  then i'll go there and get eaten by a lion.  i'm seeing stars...

"a democracy only works as well as its republic deserves."  guess we don't deserve nice things anymore.  freedom of speech, protest and going to meetings to voicing my opinion has zero effect on the minds that were bought yesterday.  "Record?"  my opinion will be noted "the record?"  like an echo in a canyon.  i got a feeling it will put me on a list of "objectionable persons." 

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Offline John78704

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 2
Which comments are you guys referring to?  When I go to the Youtube video it only shows 8 generic comments.  Did they delete them?


look at some of the commits on this youtube video.  It looks like they are already stopping people from going there.

!

 WOW!!!...this Park Ranger Kerr Wardlaw, sure has gain some notoriety in Youtube. The comments are just unbelievable. :eusa_snooty:
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 02:01:26 PM by John78704 »

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Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 7618
Which comments are you guys referring to?  When I go to the Youtube video it only shows 8 generic comments.  Did they delete them?
It would seem that the powers that be deleted just about all the comments that they deemed negative. Maybe someone out there saved them?

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SHANEA

  • Guest
http://www.facebook.com/notes/texas-parks-and-wildlife/comment-and-posting-guidelines/446030374406

Quote
You are encouraged to share your thoughts as they relate to the topic being discussed. We expect comments generally to be courteous. To that end, comments are reviewed according to the following guidelines.

We reserve the discretion to remove comments that:
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(Note that non-commercial links that are relevant to the topic or another comment are acceptable.)

The views expressed in comments reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Texas Parks and Wildlife or the Texas state government.

 


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