On August 21, 2013, I attended the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners Meeting on behalf of TETRA. Hans Micklitz joined me. We listened to different groups’ plea their causes hoping that the commissioners would heed and agree to fund their activity or change the rules or laws to benefit their endeavors.
The Buffalo Soldiers posted the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Ken Pollard was the first speaker and he invited the commission to the rededication of The Buffalo Soldiers in Wichita Falls. He thanked the commission for their past dedication. Ducks Unlimited were given a $200,000.00 check, which they planned to match for conservation of water fowl. Texas Brigades had Elizabeth(13 years old), Lane (14), Wyatt (14), and Cody (16) talk about their experiences while attending summer camp with the Brigades. They learned about conservation, eco-systems, leadership skills, confidence and qualified for scholarships. Doug Dubois spoke about the Youth Hunting Program, which teaches youths and their parents about hunting safety. Evelyn Mirtz with the Sierra Club recommended that the Park System increase the sales of special license plates in an attempt to fund wildlife programs. Roy Waley suggested programs be developed to prevent invasion of foreign plants. Concerning the Hunter Safety Course, several spoke out about whether it was better to have an on-line course or have people attend in person. Each side presented their case to the commissioners. Several boat captains spoke about the regulation of red snapper fishing. The captains owned charter boats, which took recreational fisherman wanting to fish the red snapper. Krista Seyburger asked for the continued support of TPWD in assuring the survival of the East Texas black bear. Ben Eldridge asked the commission to approach wildlife conservation with a more holistic attitude. Think of the entire ecosystem including the lizards and bugs; not just the game animals. John Doston with Texans for State Parks reported that there were over 50 “friends groups” at the many parks. He wanted recognition of their works. Debby Alley, representing Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Assn, reminded the commission that the group has helped improve several parks in the system by donating time and money. We hold benefit rides and donate all profits to the friends group of that park. The commission was asked to please pay attention to Palo Pinto Mountain State Park, as this was TETRA’s latest project to improve the park system.
After the meeting was over, several park employees spoke with me ensuring me that the park would open before the announced date of 2017. I was thanked for our continued support of the park system.
By: Debby Alley