Parks make life better here in Texas

From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks make life better here in Texas. They protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Texas’ most wondrous wildlife, like the black bear and the leatherback sea turtle.

At least 20 parks may close

But our parks are in trouble. Due to budget cuts, at least 20 state parks may close this year and state grants for local parks and playgrounds have been eliminated.

After more than 96 percent of its majestic pines were lost to wildfires, Bastrop State Park desperately needs funds to restore the park to its former beauty. Many parks, like Devils Sinkhole, had to reduce operations to just a few days a week, repairs to critical infrastructure like wastewater systems have been put off, and state grants to local parks were eliminated. Operations at the Parrie Haynes Youth Ranch—a 4,525-acre park on the Lampasas River with miles of horseback riding trails and ropes courses—ended. 

We have the money to save them

We can do more to keep our parks safe and open. In fact, our parks already have a dedicated funding stream—sales taxes on sporting goods—but for too long, the Legislature has raided the fund, diverting the money for other purposes and leaving just the bones for our cash-strapped parks system.

That’s why Environment Texas is calling on our lawmakers and local elected officials to stop pillaging this fund and give our parks the money and protection they deserve and need to stay open.

Together, we can save our parks

Our staff has been knocking on doors across the state to educate Texans about what’s at stake. We’re also testifying in the Legislature, building a coalition of environmental groups and recreation businesses, and shining the spotlight in the media on the need to protect our state parks. But the real key to winning the fight is you. With your support, we can force the Legislature to keep our parks open. If enough of us speak out, we can save Texas parks.

Preservation Updates

Blog Post

Disappointment for our state and local parks | Luke Metzger

I am sorry for the delay in furnishing the closing analysis of the appropriations process this cycle as it pertains to the Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) for 2018-2019. However, it took a bit of scrubbing to make sure that it is all here, and we wanted to make sure that there was nothing in the Special Session Call or the Governor’s approval of the budget or his vetoes, which would influence the final outcome.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Trump's first 100 days: A disaster for Texas's environment and our families' health

AUSTIN – In his first 100 days, President Trump has taken dozens of actions that threaten clean air, clean water, and treasured Texas places like Big Bend and Padre Island. “There’s no question — President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health,” said Brian Zabcik, the Clean Air & Clean Water Advocate at Environment Texas. “His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will expose us to more toxic chemicals. Bottom line, these rollbacks put the health of families at risk.”

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Blog Post

National Park Service Centennial and Conservation Opportunities Ahead | Luke Metzger

Next Thursday, August 25, marks the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service. As we celebrate, we need to make sure our parks are even more vibrant and protected 100 years from now. What author Wallace Stegner called “America’s best idea,” was simple, but unprecedented anywhere in the world: treasured landscapes should be preserved and protected from private interests for all the public to enjoy, in the form of national parks.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Statement of Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger on Today's Vote by The Texas Water Development Board on the Marvin Nichols Reservoir

The Texas Water Development Board voted 3-0 to keep the environmentally destructive Marvin Nichols Reservoir in the Region C water plan.

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Southwest Austin Growth Sparks Environmental Concerns

"The reason it hadn’t been largely developed before is because it’s a really special area, the gateway to the Hill Country and it overlies the Edwards aquifer, the drinking supply for over a million Central Texans," Luke Metzger with Environment Texas said. "There’s increasing development pressure over Southwest Austin and the Hill Country. That can come with significant impact to the water aquifer."

"We, of course, are in a record drought. We need to keep every drop of water we have and keep it clean, and the more that we’re developing over an important water source, that puts the water supply at risk," Metzger said.

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