Outdoors: State park finally nearing public access

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A pair of pending land deals soon might give Texans access to the second-largest unit in the state park system, opening to outdoor recreation approximately 60 square miles of rugged Trans-Pecos wilderness that has been inaccessible and all but invisible to the public since it was donated to the state almost two decades ago.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has owned the Chinati Mountains State Natural Area in Presidio County since 1996, when the Richard King Mellon Foundation purchased the 37,885-acre Mesquite Ranch and donated it to the agency. But the isolated tract is not connected to any public roadway, and the only roads to the area are through private property whose owners are not keen to allowing general public access through their land. The Chinati Mountains State Natural Area has been, basically, a landlocked island.

“Public access has been the issue there,” Corky Kuhlmann of TPWD’s Land Conservation Program told the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at the group’s March 27 public hearing. “I’ve been working about eight years to rectify that. I think we’re close.”

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Source: Houston Chronicle

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