Texas Will Likely Lose A State Park To A Real Estate Developer
It's a story plucked right from a feel-good kid's movie: a real estate developer threatens the park everyone loves and enjoys, and without a whole lot of hard work and a little luck, it'll be lost forever.
Which point of view do we use? The parent whose dream was to bring their child camping on the lake they love? A quirky old coot who is teaching us that "progress" isn't always for the best? The plucky posse of kids who can do it in spite of their size? Or should we take the point of view of the animals that will be displaced from their homes, or even killed, ala Watership Down, or countless others?
But this isn't a movie, this is real for one of our very own Texas State Parks. Fairfield Lake is on the verge of potentially becoming the private playground of wealthy homeowners and perhaps not a safe place for the public- and the animals- to enjoy.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Fairfield Lake has been acquired by Todd Interests, which describes itself as, "intentional, calculated and disciplined" per its website. Sounds downright ominous in this context.
I don't know what they intend to do with the land, and they did buy it fair and square. I cannot make any claim as to what will happen, I can only speculate. But we all know real estate developers don't typically acquire land to let it sit peacefully. They are not usually in the business of preserving species of animals and plants or providing equitable access to nature for everyone. That's the job of State Parks.
The Texas Department of Wildlife, in connection with some folks in government, are doing what they can to work out a deal and save this park, which has a tremendous amount of amenities for everyone to enjoy:
Last year, 82,000 visitors came to the park. The lake is a world-class fishery for largemouth bass; it’s produced the third-most ShareLunkers in the state, behind Lake Fork and O.H. Ivie, and already has seven this year. The park hosts two youth and an adult drawn hunts. There are over 10 miles of trails and over a hundred campsites.
Texas only has until tomorrow (February 3rd) to work out some sort of deal before a 120-day notice to vacate will be issued. Here's hoping something, anything, can be done to save this park.