Rep. Tracy O. King Attends Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee Hearing

March 6, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas – State Representative Tracy O. King (D-Batesville), along with other members of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee, heard testimony Tuesday on the effects of the drought and wildfires on Texas tourism and state parks.

“The recent wildfires and ongoing drought have had a devastating impact statewide,” said Rep. King. “Our state park system in particular has seen the results of these harsh conditions. ¬†We must do everything possible to maintain our State Parks for current and future generations.”

State Climatologist John W. Nielsen-Gammon provided information to committee members showing that the 2011 Texas drought has been unprecedented in its intensity. With boat ramp closures, low water levels and high temperatures, tourists aren’t frequenting Texas State Parks like they have in the past.

Carter Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife, testified that parks have seen an 8.4 percent decline in revenue from visitors in the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year. The lack of visitors is especially costly because 55 percent of park funding comes from visitor fees.

Members also learned how much recent wildfires have damaged state parks. Texas’ 94 state parks and historic sites experienced 10 to 11 million dollars in damages due to wildfires in 2011 Smith told committee members.

The Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee is made up of nine members appointed by the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives with jurisdiction over the creation and operation of state parks, historical resources and their promotion and regulation, preservation of Texas’ shrines, monuments and memorials, and the regulation of other recreational activities statewide.

Representative King currently represents seven counties in the Texas House of Representatives.

For more information or to contact Rep. King, please call the Capitol office at (512) 463-0194 or the district office in Eagle Pass at (830) 773-0860.

 

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