The president of a community group that opposes the closure of Rollover Pass was arrested Monday as construction crews began to put fences around the popular fishing spot
Ted Vega, 67, of Gilchrist, was charged Monday afternoon with criminal trespassing, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.
Vega was arrested after refusing to leave the pass as the area was being fenced, Trochesset said.
Galveston County and the Texas General Land Office plan to fill in the manmade pass and turn it into a public park. Filling in the pass is necessary to prevent erosion on Gulf beaches near the pass, and to reduce silting in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, state officials have said.
Vega is the president of the Gilchrist Community Association, a nonprofit that has opposed the closure for years. The group argues the pass is a valuable, and beloved, Texas fishing destination, and rejects the government’s rationale for closing it.
The community association has tried and failed to block eminent domain proceedings and the start of construction, but has vowed to continue opposing the closure.
Last month, the land office announced the work of filling in the pass would start by the end of September. That began Monday morning with crews putting up chainlink fences and asking people fishing at the site to leave.
Fishing at the pass will not be allowed while construction is underway and people who enter the construction area without permission will be arrested, Trochesset said. Deputies will be detailed to the pass throughout the duration of the construction project, he said.