Why a ‘yes’ vote on Proposition 14 would create a bright future for Texas State Parks

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Brazos Bend State Park

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This year marks a significant milestone for Texas – it’s the 100th birthday of our beloved state parks system. It’s an occasion to reflect on the iconic rural landscapes that make Texas special, from the vast horizon of Big Bend Ranch to the waterfalls of McKinney Falls State Park. Now, it’s time to ensure that Texans can enjoy our state parks for another 100 years by voting for Proposition 14, the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, on Election Day: Tuesday, November 7th. 

I grew up in Fort Bend County, a relatively short drive away from Brazos Bend State Park. The park felt like my own piece of wilderness, where every tree, path, and lake held the possibility of adventure. Brazos Bend is where my mom would take my brother and me on long bike rides during summer breaks and where I saw an alligator for the first time. The park became an important part of my childhood. I didn’t fully grasp how fortunate I was to have it so close until I moved away. 

Unfortunately, many Texans do not get to experience the same adventure and sense of wonder that I did. Texas ranks just 35th in the nation in state park acreage per capita. As a result, many Texans lack convenient access to state parks. 

At the same time, our state is experiencing rapid population growth, and our parks are struggling to keep up with increasing demand for recreational opportunities. Would-be park visitors often need to plan months in advance and campsite availability is often limited– especially if you want to go during holidays or weekends. Those are not the only problems: developers are bulldozing the iconic rural character that so many of us love about Texas– development overtakes about 20 football fields’ worth of land every hour in our state.  Earlier this year, Fairfield Lake State Park, a 1,460 acre park south of Dallas, permanently closed to be developed into multi-million dollar homes and a private golf course

This is why Proposition 14 is a huge game changer. It would create a $1 billion fund to create new state parks, the largest investment in nature in Texas history. The fund will enable the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create dozens of new state parks in the coming years, including within driving distance of our biggest cities.

Our state parks are not only places to escape the noise and pollution of cities, but also they are where our Texan families create lasting memories. Kids put away their screens to explore forests, swim in rivers, and camp under the stars. From boating to fishing, swimming to tubing, our parks are natural playgrounds. And the benefits of spending time in nature extend beyond cherished memories; the outdoors makes us happier and healthier. 

Moreover, these places full of recreational opportunities for us are homes for other living things.  Our state parks provide essential water and wildlife habitats for countless unique critters that help define Texas, including ocelots, horned lizards, and even sea turtles. 

Proposition 14 is a way for us to both honor 100 years of our state parks and to plan for the next 100 years. The Texas Legislature has done its part by putting this proposition on the ballot. Now, it’s our turn to do our part by voting, “yes.”

A “yes” vote for Proposition 14 will open a new chapter for our state, enabling us to establish new parks, including some close to our major cities. It’s our chance to safeguard our natural heritage, protect our water sources and ensure that Texans can continue to embark on wild adventures, like those I had growing up. We can preserve the beauty and vitality of our state for generations to come. Proposition 14 is more than just a proposition; it is a promise.

Political ad paid for by Environment Texas, a project of Environment America Inc.


Andrea Laureano

State Parks Campaign Associate, Environment Texas

Andrea is a campaign associate for Environment Texas where she is working on voter outreach efforts for the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, a ballot measure that will secure funding for Texas state parks. She recently graduated with honors from UT Austin, where she studied international relations with a focus on environmental studies. Andrea is a first-generation immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, and is proud to celebrate becoming an American citizen this month. She now lives in Austin, Texas, where she enjoys the live music scene and playing soccer.

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