Photo: Chase Fountain

Public Lands

Public lands, including parks, trails, beaches and open spaces, represent spaces for all of us to enjoy. Because of this, we each have a stake in how our public lands are managed and how much public land is available for the enjoyment of all Texans.

Texans strongly support public land conservation. A public survey performed by Texas Tech University in 2001 found that nearly 80 percent of Texans supported purchasing additional public lands for conservation. Another public survey conducted in 2009 showed similar results, with 83 percent of respondent agreeing that conservation of natural areas was a “core Lone Star value.”

Despite this support, Texas consistently falls short of national goals in regard to available parkland, and we are especially lacking in urban-accessible public lands. The National Recreation and Park Association recommends about 25 acres of local public parkland per 1,000 people as a quality-of-life measure. Even though we have significant private land conservation in the Hill Country, we average only about 12.4 acres per 1,000 people. Especially in the more urban areas of the Hill Country, our citizens are missing out on the numerous health and economic benefits of adequate access to public land. You can find out more about the economics of land conservation by visiting HCA’s Economics of Sound Planning page here.

Recent Public Lands News

Texas parks won’t get promised funds

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department won’t see $36 million in promised state money over the next two years even as the agency grapples with millions of dollars in backlogged…