Land Use Watch provides the story of a state park system that was rescued from the brink of collapse through gubernatorial leadership. The state is Oregon and the governor is Ted Kulongoski—that is, Democrat Ted Kulogonski. From The Oregonian on August 8:
Brian Booth, the former longtime chairman of the state parks commission, says the governor deserves credit for helping spur what is being viewed as a renaissance for a state park system that just 10 years ago was on the brink of collapse.
"The public beaches and parks are the soul of Oregon," says Booth. He remembers the bleak days in 1996 when the parks commission was threatening to close dozens of state parks and Republican lawmakers were pushing a bill to privatize and commercialize others. "It's why people come from all over the world to see Oregon."
Of course, the governor did not do this alone. The true impetus came from the citizens of the state:
An avid canoeist and backpacker, Kulongoski sat down with then-parks director Mike Carrier and questioned him about the possibility of building and staffing a series of new parks that would accentuate Oregon's cultural and environmental allure.
Four years earlier, voters had approved Ballot Measure 66, which dedicated 7.5 percent of state lottery revenues to parks. The initiative provided a huge financial boost to a system that had been cut off at the knees by a previous ballot measure that banned using gas taxes on parks.
At the groundbreaking [of the first new state park in 32 years] in June 2004, Kulongoski outlined his plan to open one new state park every year. "More people mean more demand for state-of-the-art parks and recreation facilities," he said. "This demand has gone unsatisfied for far too long."
Certainly Texas, 22-million people strong, can do at least as well as Oregon and its 3.6 million residents?
One new park a year for Oregon equates to six new parks a year for Texas. Time to get busy.