The coastal plains are bustling with plant life and animal life only to be seen in this part of the country. A piece of legislation could soon help to designate this habitat in undeveloped parts of Galveston and surrounding counties as a national park later this year.
The designation would be known as the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area. The LSCNRA is envisioned as a non-contiguous cluster of open lands, historic sites and structures within Matagorda, Brazoria, Chambers and Galveston counties. The move would preserve wetlands and the Gulf Coast’s natural treasures for future generations.
Once the national park designation is received, participants will become part of the National Park Service, joining the ranks of other iconic national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone. For its part, the NPS brings some funding and staffing to the table, contributing its expertise in areas such as education, visitor services and planning.
Becoming part of the NPS would allow the LSCNRA to showcase its unique natural habitat. It is expected that this partnership will increase tourist visitation and have a positive economic impact on the counties that participate. According to a study, at seven NPS sites similar to the LSCNRA, visitation grew an average of 565 percent in the first 10 years of operation, providing a significant economic benefit for the local communities.
In order for the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area to become a designated unit of the NPS, a member of the Texas congressional delegation must introduce a bill, congress must pass it and the president must sign it into law. Proposed legislation to designate the LSCNRA has been drafted by the LSCNRA Coalition. Plans are being made to introduce the legislation in congress this year.
“It’s our hope that the LSCNRA designation will encourage those who live in city settings, like Houston, to get out and explore this special natural environment in their backyard,” said Victoria Herrin, National Parks Conservation Association campaign manager.
Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.