A proposal to sell off 9,000 acres of Texas land set aside in a conservation fund has many worried about a loss of public land. But proponents say a private owner would expand, not limit, public access to the land.
"Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson wants to sell 9,000 acres of remote desert mountains near Terlingua that the Conservation Fund gave the state 16 years ago."
"But the Christmas Mountains land, a rugged area bordering Big Bend National Park, comes with so many deed restrictions that commercial development will be impossible."
"Livestock grazing is not allowed. All-terrain vehicles can't be used. Telephone, electric, gas, water and sewer lines are prohibited. So are satellite dishes."
"The few primitive roads on the land can be repaired, but new roads and buildings, including restrooms, are not allowed except for a caretaker's cabin."
"Patterson said private ownership will allow public access that the state can't provide, although critics say the sale will mean a loss of public access."