Protect Our Public Lands

Environment Texas calls on Legislature to save Fairfield Lake State Park

Staff | TPIN
Supporters of Fairfield Lake State Park gathered at the Texas Capitol to call on lawmakers to save the park
Environment Texas staff and other supporters of Fairfield Lake State Park gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to call on lawmakers to take action to keep the park open.
The day before, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department closed the park to the public, potentially forever. Texas Parks and Wildlife has tried and failed to purchase the land on which the park is located, but the owner — power company Vistra — has instead reached a deal to sell the land to real estate developer Todd Interests to build a golf course and gated community and sell water from the lake to DFW.
Thankfully, Texas Parks and Wildlife and their allies in the Legislature aren’t taking this lying down. In fact, a local Republican legislator has taken the extraordinary step of threatening to use the power of eminent domain to require Todd Interests to sell the land at a fair price to the state and keep the state park open.
A renowned fishing spot, Fairfield Lake attracts anglers from all over to catch bass, crappie, perch, catfish, tilapia and red drum. The lake is also popular for swimming and kayaking, while the surrounding land offers 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. With nearly 250 species of birds recorded — including the bald eagle — the park is a bird-watching heaven.
It’s unfortunate that Todd Interests has thus far refused to negotiate with Texas Parks and Wildlife over saving the park and that eminent domain must now be contemplated. But this park has been open to the public for almost 50 years, during which the state made $72 million of improvements.
Lawmakers still have a lot of ways to bring Todd Interests to the negotiating table, including rejecting the permit to transport water from the lake out of the county, refusing to pay for roads to and from the development, water treatment plants and other infrastructure.
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staff | TPIN

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