With passage of Prop 14, Texas to buy land for new state parks, set bar for other states to protect their great outdoors
AUSTIN, Texas – With 76% of Texans voting in support of Proposition 14, the $1 billion fund for state parks, Environment Texas and the Texas Coalition for State Parks are celebrating what will be the largest investment in nature in Texas’ history.
“State parks hold a special place in the hearts of Texans. Proposition 14 will ensure these beloved spaces thrive and remain accessible for generations to come,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas. “Our parks offer breathtaking landscapes and unmatched opportunities for outdoor recreation, including camping, hiking and fishing. These natural spaces also play a vital role in preserving the state’s wildlife and waterways. Given the deep support Texas parks have among Texans, it’s no wonder that Prop 14 passed.”
The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund will enable the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to buy land to create dozens of new state parks. These new parks will increase access to nature, protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and preserve Texas’ most beautiful places for future generations.
“A century of Texas beauty has been entrusted to us, and with Proposition 14’s passage, we have ensured that resources are set aside, safeguarded and used for the sole betterment of our parks system. Together, we have guaranteed that the beauty, wonder and history of Texas are celebrated for generations to come,” said Senator Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound, TX), the author of the constitutional Amendment.
“Open spaces are critical to our quality of life,” said Joseph Fitzsimons, former Chairman of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission and Co-Founder of the Texas Coalition for State Parks. “With a thousand people a day moving to Texas there is no doubt we need more State Parks, and clearly Texas voters agreed! The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund will help protect the places we love to hike, bike, fish, picnic, view wildlife, and spend time with family. Because of the passage of Proposition 14, more Texans will now have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors.”
The Texas Coalition for State Parks is a group of more than 90 organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Apache Corporation and REI, which campaigned for passage of Prop 14.
“We believe that every person should have access to parks and green spaces, no matter where they live,” said Tom Bugert, State & Local Government Relations Manager for REI Co-op. “Texas State Parks attracted more than 10 million visitors last year. As participation continues to grow, this historic funding will ensure future generations can connect to the valuable outdoor experiences state parks provide.”
“Texans of all stripes love our state parks,” said Doug Deason, a conservative activist, Dallas businessman and early supporter of the campaign. “Prop 14 brought Republicans, Democrats and Independents together to make a historic investment in the great outdoors, for Texans today and for Texans tomorrow.”
The bipartisan support for the measure in the Legislature, which voted to place it on the ballot, and the ensuing victory suggest that other states should follow the lead of the Lone Star State.
“While a lot of attention might be on left vs. right hot-button issues, the ‘boring’ story here is that Americans agree on their love of the great outdoors and cherish their state parks,” said Ellen Montgomery, public lands campaigns director for Environment America. “Sure, everything is bigger in Texas, and $1 billion might be a lot for other states to pony up, but we’re hoping that this will be a blueprint for other states to invest to the degree they can in their state parks.”
Texas Coalition for State Parks Members:
Access Fund | American Conservation Coalition | American Farmland Trust | Apache Corporation | Association of Nature Center Administrators | Audubon Texas | Austin Outside | Austin Parks Foundation |Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Biking Club | Backcountry Hunters & Anglers | Bayou Land Conservancy | Bayou Preservation Association | Bexar Audubon Society | Bike Houston | Bike Texas | Blunn Creek Partnership | Braun & Gresham, PLLC | Buffalo Bayou Partnership | Caddo Lake Institute | Cibolo Nature Center and Farm | Coastal Prairie Conservancy | Comal County Conservation Alliance | Creating Common Ground | Defenders of Wildlife | Devils River Conservancy | Ducks Unlimited, Texas Chapter | El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association | Environment Texas | Environmental Defense Fund | Fellowship Southwest | Fin & Fur Films | Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge | Frontera Land Alliance | Galveston Bay Foundation | Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council | Get Outside Alliance | Great Plains Restoration Council | Great Springs Project | Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance | Green Spaces Alliance | Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust | Gulf of Mexico Trust | Hershey Ranch | Hill Country Alliance | Hill Country Conservancy | Hill Country Environment (PHCE) Foundation | Houston Audubon | Houston Parks Board | Houston Wilderness | Houston Women’s Hiking | Land Trust Alliance | L.L. Bean | Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club | McMacCX | National Parks Conservation Association | National Wildlife Federation | Outdoor Alliance | Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Inc. | Patagonia | Poncho Outdoors | Progress Texas | REI | Safari Club International – Houston Chapter | San Marcos River Foundation | Save Barton Creek Association | Save Buffalo Bayou | Save our Springs Alliance (SOS Alliance) | SEED Coalition | Stewards of The Wild | Texans for State Parks | Texas 2036 | Texas Agricultural Land Trust | Texas Campaign for the Environment & TCE Fund | Texas Center for Policy Studies| Texas Children In Nature | Texas Conservation Alliance | Texas Foundation for Conservation | Texas Impact | Texas Interfaith Power and Light | Texas Land Conservancy | Texas Land Trust Council | Texas Outdoor Partners | Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation | Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) | Texas Rivers Protection Association | Texas Travel Alliance | Texas Wildlife Association | The Conservation Fund | The Nature Conservancy | The Watershed Association | Travis Audubon Society | Travis County Parks Foundation | TREAD Coalition | Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association | Trust for Public Land | Zilker 351