Texas Parklands: Republican Thievery Redux
Texas public lands -- a donation of a ranch meant to be a park, called "Christmas Mountain" -- are at risk again. More here,, but in brief: The donors specified conservation and preservation in perpetuity; but that was back when Texas' General Land Office was run by Gary Mauro. Now it's in the hands of Republican Jerry Patterson, and, predictably, he wants to sell the land -- to private investors -- to be used as a hunting resort for a handful of well-heeled clients.
Luke Metzer, Director of Environment Texas, wrote:
On Friday, the National Park Service announced they would like to add the Christmas Mountains to Big Bend National Park. Big Bend's superintendent asked Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to delay the sale of the Christmas Mountains to private interests in order to give them time to put together a proposal.
Unfortunately, Patterson turned the park service down, saying he didn't want them to manage the property unless they changed their policy that prohibits concealed hand guns on the property. This is a completely unrelated issue and shouldn't stand in the way of the protection of the Christmas Mountains.
The good news is that Patterson is only one of three votes on the School Land Board, the body which will decide what to do with the Christmas Mountains. The other two members are appointees of Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Please sign our petition to Gov. Perry and Attorney General Abbott asking them to direct their appointees to stop the sale of the Christmas Mountains.
Nonetheless, a few days ago a Big Bend National Park spokesperson told us that the park’s new superintendent, Bill Wellman, was looking for ways to acquire the property.
GLO spokesman Jim Suydam just sent us an emailed statement saying that Patterson and superintendent Wellman spoke this morning. (The full statement is below the photograph.)
Wellman wants the GLO to postpone the privatization of the Christmas Mountains while they try to work something out. However, Patterson is sticking to his, ahem, guns. “No hunting, no firearms, no deal,” Patterson told Wellman. Patterson, who allegedly keeps a pistol in his left boot and another in his waistband, calls the ban on packing heat in national parks “unconstitutional.”