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Houston Regional Group - News
Bayou Banner Article, June/July 2012 -
Hell Freezes Over! Neches River Bill Introduced by Hutchison in Senate

At long last, hell has frozen over!!! Texas U.S. Senator Katy Bailey Hutchison introduced into the U.S. Senate, Senate Bill (S.) 2324, Upper Neches Wild and Scenic River Study Act, which authorizes the study of the Neches River for eligibility as a designated National Wild and Scenic River. This is a dream that conservationists, including the Sierra Club, have had for over 30 years.

The bill provides for the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service to study a 225 mile section of the Neches River, from Lake Palestine Dam in Anderson and Cherokee Counties to Dam B (B.A. Steinhagen Lake) in Jasper and Tyler Counties, for wild and or scenic river status.

The Neches River is one of the few rivers in East Texas that has long stretches of undammed water. This river is known for its superb canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hunting, and enjoyment of Nature's sights and sounds including many species of wildlife. As a wild and scenic river, the Neches would be judged on its scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, and other values. The goal of an ultimate designation of wild and scenic for the Neches River is to preserve its wild and natural character for the American People.

The stretch of Neches River which would be studied by S. 2324 runs along the boundaries of Davy Crockett and Angelina National Forests, Big Slough and Upland Island Wilderness Areas, and the newly designated Neches River National Wildlife Refuge.

The study will take 2-3 years and if successful will lead to a second congressional bill that will designate the Neches River as a wild and scenic river. The study process will include all of those interested in the future of the Neches River including area cities and counties, riverside property owners, timber interests, recreational users, water developers, tourism officials, conservation groups, and the general public.

Please write Senator Hutchison and thank her for introducing S. 2324: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, 1919 Smith Street, Suite 800, Houston, Texas 77002-8051.

Please also write Senator John Cornyn and tell him to support S. 2324: Senator John Cornyn, 5300 Memorial Drive, Suite 980, Houston, Texas 77007.

Brandt Mannchen
May 1, 2012

Last updated:  11/20/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.