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New Proposal For Devil's River Land Deal

Devil's River Land Deal Revised
Photo courtesy of Laurence Parent.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is holding a special meeting December 20 to consider a new plan for a Devil's River state park.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has scheduled a public meeting for December 20 on an updated version of the Devil's River land deal. The department's website includes maps of the area and other information on the proposed site.

As KUT has previously reported, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners decided  to delay considering the Devil's River land deal at their November 4 meeting, after public feedback that the plan blocked access to the river.  Since then TPWD has decided to acquire land for a new state park or preserve in the Devil's River area.

In a press release this week, the department reported that

The Devils River Ranch owner has agreed to sell the ranch to TPWD for $13 million, significantly below the $15,875,000 fair market value calculated earlier this year by a certified appraiser. To fund the purchase, TPWD would use $2.7 million in state funds allocated for park land acquisition. This would be matched with $1.3 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars. But the bulk of the purchase would be made with $9 million in private donations. A proposal to exchange the natural area for the ranch was pulled from the Nov. 4 commission agenda after TPWD heard concerns from paddlers, some environmentalists and others. Kayak and canoe clubs expressed concern that loss of the state natural area would disrupt opportunities to paddle the upper river. The new proposal maintains that opportunity while opening the way for the department to work collaboratively with landowners and paddlers to resolve longstanding disputes surrounding the river’s use, as well as improve the existing state natural area.

The special meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 20 at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Austin headquarters. To comment on the project you can email

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.