CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On the ballot this November election, voters will be voting on Proposition 14. This proposition will provide stable, long-term funding for new state park land purchases and the development of new state parks at no additional cost to Texas taxpayers.
If passed, Prop 14 would form the largest investment in parks in Texas history.
Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation this year during the 100th anniversary of the parks system to approve the creation of the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, which could provide a one billion dollar fund to acquire and develop new parks across the state.
“It is going to take funds that are already in the state surplus funds here and distribute them to the state park board. What that is going to help us do, that is going to help us improve the parks we already have and most importantly and most excitedly, what we are most looking forward to is it’s going to help us create new state parks as well,” said Palo Duro Canyon State Park Interpreter Bradley Kliemann.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, nearly 10 million people visit Texas state parks each year.
Kliemann said currently 95% of Texas is privately owned, leaving only 5% for public lands like Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
He added another goal of Prop 14 will help to make sure that every Texan is not more than 30 or 40 minutes away from a state park.
“Not everybody has the financial liberties here to be able to travel hours and hours out to a magical place like Palo Duro Canyon, so having something local, having something close to them will really allow them to better get outside, enjoy the great outdoors, just like we do here in Amarillo close to Palo Duro Canyon,” said Kliemann.
Kliemann added Palo Duro Canyon will probably only see a small portion of the funds if Prop 14 is passed.
“It may help us improve some of the areas here, it may help us work on new projects, however, the big overarching picture is really helping us further develop our state park system here,” said Kliemann.
Kliemann added that areas between Amarillo and Lubbock have been looked at as ideal locations for new state parks, but Kliemann could not go further into details.
Texas Parks and Wildlife added if Prop 14 does not pass, that it will continue its efforts to acquire and develop state parks by using a mix of conservation funds, stakeholder partnerships, and specifically authorized state and federal appropriations.