Green to help keep Texas Green Conservationists: Prop 5 will help protect Guadalupe River State Park & others
Sunday, December 22, 2019
By Lindsey Carnett
Thanks to the passage of Proposition 5, Guadalupe River State Park will soon start receiving much-needed funding.
Just weeks after the passing of nine Texas constitutional amendments, state conservationists are applauding state voters on their 88% approval rating for Proposition 5 — which will send the sales tax on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
This funding source will help replace decades-old infrastructure — such as outdoor plumbing installed in the 1930s and 1940s — as well as upkeep nature trails, protect Texas’ natural areas and give the department the ability to open new sites.
With a 89.4% voter approval rating in Comal County, 13,972 voters were in favor of Proposition 5 and only about 10.6%, or 1,657 were against.
"I think clearly what this says is Texans care about our open spaces and historical sites and we know that it’s a big part of our culture, and of our state pride," said John Sheppard, executive director of the Texas Foundation for Conservation.
With the exponential growth Texas is experiencing, the state’s population is set to double by 2050 — which makes now the vital time to protect the land and its assets, Sheppard said.
"The state parks are the gateway to the outdoors for millions of Texans," Sheppard said. "The challenge (for state parks) over the years has been woeful underfunding — to the tune of parks only received about 40% of funds we’d anticipated."
The passage of Proposition 5 will make it so there is a solid funding stream to state and local parks such as the Guadalupe River State Park, and others, Sheppard said.
Sheppard added this amendment protects local city parks as well, which can receive park grants through the state office and match funds.
"Some money also goes to the historical commission as well, which protects historical sites," Sheppard said.
While many people may ask what upkeep state parks need that costs funds, infrastructure is not a cheap expense, Sheppard said.
"Even if the state has land, it takes several years to make a state park," Sheppard said. "It takes building basic infrastructure, long-term planning — and every year, the parks department had to go into the next year not really knowing how much would truly be available."
Thanks to the lobbying of over 80 different nonprofits and pro-environmental groups focused on conservation, the proposition was put out for voters and it’s state-wide passage rate of 88% shows it was highly wanted, Sheppard said.
"Other states have done similar propositions but 88% is the highest passing rate of any," Sheppard said.
Guadalupe River State Park is slated to get new restrooms, and it’s fixes like this every state park needs, Sheppard said.
"I think we’re going to look back on this legislation, this amendment and in 10, 20, 30 years we’ll realize how important it was we made this decision when we did," Sheppard said.
A day pass at Guadalupe River State Park is $7 for adults and free for children under 12. An annual pass costs $70. Camping is available for a nightly rate ranging between $15 and $24.
Guadalupe River State Park is located at 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, 78070, within parts both Comal and Kendall counties. For more information about the park, call 830- 438-2656
San Marcos River Foundation Land for Sale:
We're excited to share that after purchasing a crucial tract of land six years ago we're ready to complete this project and ensure its permanent protection. The Geiger Tract, which is riddled with sensitive recharge features and next to Sink Creek above Spring Lake, was first purchased with a loan from the Conservation Fund to prevent dense development on it and the adjoining property. We plan to sell the land with a conservation easement that will permanently restrict uses that impact its natural resources. In addition, we are preserving the ability to make crucial connections for the Loop and Check greenbelt trail corridor first envisioned by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance & SMRF, and adopted by the City of San Marcos.
SMRF as Land Trust:
The purchase of the Geiger Tract was the beginning of SMRF's role as a regional land trust and over these past six years we have focused significant energy to continue our work of protecting the springshed and riparian areas of the San Marcos River. We are officially members of the Land Trust Alliance and Texas Land Trust Council which both provide resources for adopting the best standards and practices of land trusts. We continue to own and protect the 31 acre preserve along the San Marcos River at IH-35. In 2020 we will begin pursuing more conservation easement opportunities with private landowners in the recharge zone and along the San Marcos River as part of our mission to protect and preserve a clean, flowing and accessible San Marcos River through water and land conservation, advocacy and community engagement.