Commentary: Proposed TPWD land exchange receives county support

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The tracts in green show the land that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would provide to SpaceX in proposed land swap. The land in orange is Boca Chica State Park. (Courtesy: TPWD)

Whether you’re a born-and-bred local or looking for your next adventure, Cameron County is a true paradise on Earth. Here, amid our warm climate, rich culture and captivating wildlife, you will find a sanctuary that invites everyone to immerse themselves in our community’s splendor.

Cameron County is a blend of coastal charm, Tex-Mex heritage and lush, natural landscapes, setting it apart as a gem in the Lone Star State. It is critical that we preserve its unique character that enriches the cultural and ecological tapestry of Texas, not only for its current residents but also future generations. That is why, in order to fulfill this mission, we give our full support to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission’s efforts to acquire 477 acres of coastal land in return for 43 acres at Boca Chica State Park.

This exchange isn’t merely about swapping parcels of land — it’s about safeguarding the very essence of what makes Cameron County unique within the vast expanse of Texas. Those 477 acres hold within them precious habitats that are home to myriad plant and animal species, from delicate coastal dunes to nesting grounds for endangered birds.

It’s also about public access. Boca Chica State Park, with its pristine beaches and diverse ecosystems, offers a gateway for our community to connect with the wonders of nature. By supporting this land exchange, we’re not only creating more opportunities for outdoor recreation but also fostering a deeper appreciation for the environment that sustains us.

Ultimately, we are committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Some of our local policies are shaped around initiatives that will improve quality of life and lead to tangible improvements that benefit the residents of Cameron County. We’ve built onto this legacy through initiatives like the South Texas Ecotourism Center in Laguna Vista, which serves as a hub for environmental education and ecotourism, and the Bahia Grande Wetlands restoration project, a shining example of successful habitat rehabilitation. Obtaining this acreage will undoubtedly add to those successes.

Although the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has always been a great partner to us, we admit that the news of the land swap initially left us feeling taken aback and disappointed as we had been developing plans for future parks with the two tracts in question. Like many of you, we felt left in the dark by TPWD, unsure of the impacts this exchange would have on our beloved coastal lands and these future projects we had been planning. However, through open dialogue and collaboration, we have come to realize that this decision is not only well-intentioned but also necessary for the long-term health and vitality of Cameron County.

We look forward to working together as the exchange progresses to develop a partnership agreement for the joint planning, development and management of the 477 acres.

As staunch advocates for conservation, especially as it pertains to our region, the land exchange in Cameron County represents a pivotal moment for our community and the preservation of our natural heritage. This exchange is a testament to the power of collaboration and forward-thinking stewardship. It also demonstrates that we can strike a balance between development and conservation, that we can protect our precious natural resources while also providing for the needs of our growing community.

So let us embrace the opportunity with passion and purpose. Let us stand together as guardians of our land, champions for our wildlife and advocates for the well-being of our fellow citizens. By supporting this exchange we affirm our commitment to preserving the beauty and diversity of Cameron County, ensuring that it remains a sanctuary of life, culture and adventure for generations to come.

Eddie Treviño Jr. is Cameron County judge.

Eddie Treviño Jr.