SCENIC UPPER TEXAS COASTAL SWAMPS, BEACHES, PLANTATIONS A LITTLE CLOSER TO GOING NATIONAL Jefferson County’s commissioners are the latest to give a formal thumbs up to a proposal for the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area, which would bundle together a patchwork of parks, historical sites, and variously refinery adjacent nature preserves from the Bolivar peninsula down to Matagorda Bay. The concept for a regional rec zone was developed shortly after Hurricane Ike’s big splash on the Texas coast in 2008: researchers noticed that some of those larger patches of undeveloped wetlands helped buffer storm surge damage, and started looking at whether keeping them around could be profitable in other ways. No new land would be scooped up for inclusion in the 4-county zone, unless it were offered voluntarily — but the whole region would be marketed under the National Parks Service’s banner as a package to birdwatchers, beachgoers, Strand-walkers, and the like. The proposed area would still need some level of National Parks Service staff, and approval from Congress — which is currently considering major cuts to the Department of the Interior’s budget. [Beaumont Enterprise; Houston Chronicle] Map of proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area: LSCNRA
To clarify, Jefferson County is voting on this even though no portion of the proposed national park would be located within Jefferson County. The counties involved are Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston, and Chambers.
Who drew these boundaries, anyway? Why stop there, especially with Sea Rim State Park just to the east, in Jefferson County, and McFaddin Beach, just east of High Island being an unofficial nude beach? Surely at least one of these should be promoted alongside the other recreational assets of Texas’ upper coast? Also, isn’t there a really big state park in the offing for the former Bighorn Ranch(?), near Port O’Connor? Why not encompass that?
Alternatively, perhaps this is something that the State of Texas really ought to spearhead and retain total control over without fretting about the strings that come attached to federal money.