In the fall of 2010, the Lone Star Chapter played in preserving the original Devils River State Natural Area property as state public land. This is a good time for an update on what has been happening.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has decided to name the northern (original) unit of this State Natural Area (SNA) the “Del Norte” unit. The recently acquired Devils River Ranch unit to the south will be called the “Big Satan” unit. The TPWD will establish a second Devils River Working Group, with the responsibility of carrying out the charge of the first working group (WG). Like Working Group #1, the WG #2 will largely concern itself with the Devils River itself and focus on the issues of river access, river protection, and balancing the interests of all the parties concerned with Devils River. The Lone Star Chapter has submitted three names for consideration to serve on Devils River Working Group #2.
Paddlers will be interested to know that TPWD plans to sign an agreement with TxDOT so that TPWD would be able to control river access at Baker’s Crossing. TPWD is concerned that river outfitters ensure that users follow TPWD guidelines while paddling the river, both to protect the river and the ensure that landowner rights are respected.
The draft of the Public Use Plan (PUP) section of the General Management Plan (GMP) was issued in the spring for public comment, both at public meetings and from comments sent in writing/email. The Lone Star Chapter submitted comments on the draft in May of 2012. Although the PUP is very important and can impact the resource, everyone was concerned about what the plans were for managing the natural and cultural resources. We were told that those sections were forthcoming and that the public would have a chance to comments on those – although they weren’t sure about the format.
been completed. The plan is for the departmental review of the drafts to be complete by the end of August or early September. At that point, it will important for the Sierra Club and other supporters of resource & cultural protection to actively participate in the review of the Devils River SNA draft GMP. We’ve learned by experience that the only way to ensure protection of natural and cultural resources is for the public to show up and get involved.
Note: Deirdre Hisler, TPWD Region 1 Director (which includes Devils River SNA) and Joe Ranzau, the DRSNA superintendent, were helpful in preparing this update.