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New State Park Largest Conservation Purchase In Texas History

The 17,000-acre piece of land will serve wildlife and recreation.

 

Texas is getting a new state park and wildlife habitat.

The Powderhorn Ranch is a 17,000 acre piece of land off Matagorda Bay, about 150 miles southwest of Houston.

Multiple public and private conservation organizations worked together to secure the property. They gathered at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science to make the spectacular announcement.

 “The Powderhorn Ranch, it’s going to stand out as one of, if not the most, exciting and memorable and lasting contributions to the state,” Dan Hughes, chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, said.

Powderhorn map
The Powderhorn Ranch property is located in Calhoun County, between Matagorda Bay and Powderhorn Lake.

Conservationists have had an eye on the property for more than 30 years. At almost $38 million, the acquisition marks the largest conservation land purchase in Texas history.

Most of the money comes from oil restoration dollars paid by BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The land was purchased from a Kentucky company for below market value.

Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the sheer size of the land along with its rich flora and fauna are some of the things that make this addition to Texas’ state parks special.

Carter Smith at the podium
Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, announces the purchase of the Powderhorn Ranch.

“But the other part of it is really the potential to provide enormous recreational related opportunities to Texans and their families through camping and kayaking and white fishing and hunting and bird watching and nature studying,” Smith said. “So this really is a gift to all Texans now and to come.”

The organizations say there is still more fundraising to be done. They need to raise $7 million more to reach their $50 million goal for the project. It includes the purchase and habitat restoration and management.

Smith said there is more work to be done.

“When we think about the acquisition of a property like this, we’re thinking in generational terms,” he said. “We’re thinking about planting a tree so that somebody else can enjoy the shade.”

Conservationists are now working on plans for wildlife management and recreational development of the land.

There’s no timeline for when the park will open to the public.

For now, check out the video below:

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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