By: Mark Wilson, Travis Audubon Board Member
Have you gone birding in a Texas State Park recently? Perhaps you enjoyed the bird blind at Pedernales State Park. Drove down to Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park to see some South Texas specialties. Or joined a Travis Audubon field trip at one of the State Parks in Central Texas. Our State Parks provide many opportunities to enjoy birding, and just as importantly, thousands of acres of protected habitat for all our Texas critters. And not just the major parks – I have spent time with friends and family birding at State Historical Sites, Wildlife Management Areas, State Beaches and State River Trails – any accessible natural area where I could grab a minute in the woods in a state that is 95% privately owned.
On November 5th, we have a chance to support our parks by voting for and passing Proposition 5 in a statewide Constitutional Amendment Election. Proposition 5 will dedicate revenue from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax, so those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes. This involves no new taxes or fees. For over 25 years, only 40% of the revenue from the SGS tax has gone to the use for which it was intended. Prop 5 will end that practice. 100% of revenue will provide badly needed funds for maintenance, capital improvements and expansion. There are currently 5 new parks awaiting funding to open, and I can say from personal experience these parks include some exciting new birding and naturalist opportunities.
Travis Audubon is a member of the Texas Coalition for State Parks. We support the Prop 5 “Support State Parks” campaign. This amendment was sponsored and passed by the Texas Legislature in a bipartisan fashion with near unanimous support, including our Governor. Now we need to do our part to get all the YES votes we can to the polls. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Spread the word. Show up the first Tuesday in November and Vote Yes Prop 5 Nov 5!
You can get more information to help spread the word at www.SupportTexasParks.org, Twitter Vote Yes on #Prop5onNov5, or Like the Support Texas Parks Facebook page.