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Gov. Abbott backs efforts to save Fairfield Lake State Park

Your Friday morning headlines, February 24th, 2023
Your Friday morning headlines, February 24th, 2023 02:17

AUSTIN ( — With only a few days left until Fairfield Lake State Park is set to close for good, Governor Greg Abbott has voiced his support for efforts to save it.

On Feb. 16, the Texas Tribune reported that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's lease for the Fairfield Lake State Park will be terminated at the end of the month. A Dallas-based real estate developer recently bought the land and plans to turn it into a multimillion-dollar gated community.

The park, which the state has leased for over 50 years, includes 1,460 acres of land and the 2,400-acre Fairfield Lake. The lake is a popular fishing spot. It also offers activities like kayaking and swimming. The land around it features over 15 miles of trails and is home to hundreds of species of birds.

Gov. Abbott voiced support for saving the park on Feb. 24, just four days before the scheduled closure. He said he was working with the Parks and Wildlife on solutions but did not go into detail. 

Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger said that he appreciated the Governor's support. He noted that the "Legislature still has a number of tools available" to save the park and "urged them to use them to keep this gem of the state parks system open." 

The state could offer to buy the park. But Shawn Todd, the new owner of the land, has not expressed any interest in selling it to the state. The legislature could also use imminent domain to force Todd to sell them the land. 

Metzger also emphasized the need for action to make sure this doesn't happen again in the future. "We need to make a major investment in land acquisition... and actually grow the system to keep up with demand and population growth." 

The park is set to close on Feb. 28 unless the state intervenes. The Parks and Wildlife Dept. will have 120 days to vacate the premises.

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