Big Bend Conservancy
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Fort Davis view at risk Web Posted: 02/09/2008 11:05 PM CSTJohn MacCormackExpress-News The online listing by Texas Mountain Realty for a rocky 39-acre plot a few miles from Fort Davis brags of "incredible views bordering the natural historic site." And if anything, this is an understatement. Offered for $504,000, the brushy knob in the Davis Mountains directly overlooks the old cavalry fort established in 1854 to protect frontier travelers from the Apaches and Comanches. Now a national historic site, it draws about 50,000 visitors a year, including thousands of school children. And few out here think development of the hilltop will add to the local aesthetic. "It's just got everyone freaked out. Stand there looking at that fort and imagine condos above it. It's just frightening," said Bob Dillard, a former Jeff Davis County judge who publishes the local newspaper. Just west of the fort is Davis Mountains State Park and federal land, except for the 39-acre site. The McDonald Observatory is a few miles away. "Scenery is our main drawing card," said George Grubb, the current county judge. "We don't have a fishing lake or a golf course. Some people are concerned that if you ruin the scenic beauty, you'll hit all three of our money-makers," he said, referring to the local tourist attractions. The property was put on the market recently after quiet efforts to find a buyer who would donate it to the park or historic site came to nothing, according to its owner, Chris Jaynes of Seguin. "I don't want to see anyone subdivide it and put houses all over it. I think it would be best for the state or the park to acquire it," said Jaynes, who believes the asking price is fair. The controversy erupted the same week Fort Davis was praised and honored by the National Trust For Historic Preservation as one of America's distinctive vacation destinations. "With no traffic lights or chain stores, Fort Davis is a gateway to an unspoiled terrain, offering an extraordinary blend of majestic scenery, abundant wildlife and cultural resources that bring to life the history of the 19th-century Western frontier," read the Thursday news release by the trust. Chuck Hunt, the superintendent of the federal historic site, said he and others worked for about a year to arrange to keep the private land from being developed, but a proposed deal with the Texas Conservation Fund didn't materialize, he said. "We've tried to line up folks who might be willing to buy it until the state park or the federal historic site can acquire it. It takes a long time for the federal government to respond to something like this," he said. "The beauty of it now is that half our view-shed is protected in perpetuity, so our grandkids can enjoy the same historic scenery," he said. Sometime after buying the property, Jaynes built a road to it to allow access, changing the dynamic. "I don't think people were nervous until there was good access to it. Now there is," Hunt said. Among those working behind the scenes to find a sympathetic buyer is Suzanne Dixon of the National Parks Conservation Association. "The views at Fort Davis are just as much part of the experience for visitors as the fort itself. Any structure on the bluff would greatly impair the sense of history the fort now offers," she said. Tammy King, the agent who is listing the property, is still hopeful that a conservation-minded buyer will emerge. "I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. This is my view that I want to protect, but at the same time, the seller wants a return on his investment," she said. "On the personal side, I've been working two years to try and find a buyer to protect it, but if someone who wants to build his dream home shows up tomorrow with a half million bucks, I'd have to sell," she said. Jaynes, who owns other property in the area, said he is trying to do the right thing. "If someone came today and wanted it, I would ask them what they were going to do with it. If they said put 10 mobile homes up there and rent them out for the weekend, I wouldn't allow that to happen," he said, while acknowledging there are no deed restrictions on the land. "I want to know who I'm selling it to. I can understand why everyone is concerned. I have a lot of respect for the land," he said. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------firstname.lastname@example.org
Beautiful scene marty. Looks like a fine painting more than a picture. I like it.
Quote from: STARLITDARKNESS3 on February 17, 2008, 12:13:56 PMBeautiful scene marty. Looks like a fine painting more than a picture. I like it. Thanks, the original is for sale only $1,000,000.
Careful Marty... in the case of a photograph.... the "original" is what you photographed.... looks like several tens of thousands of acres in the pic. Someone might just come up with the million!
Don't like it that much...
....Spend say $500,000 (hopefully I could negotiate the price down $4000) for the land... For the daily view, I think I'd do it.
Hills behind West Texas' historic Fort Davis will be conserved
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