I was surprised and encouraged to hear this news. Instead of losing access to a large, remote natural area in order to gain another, smaller, but more accessible, one, the people of Texas will be able to use both thanks to private donations.
From today's Austin American-Statesman:
Using a remarkable pool of private contributions totaling more than $10 million, the commission agreed to buy the Devils River Ranch from Dallas-area home builder Rod Sanders for $13 million.
The ranch fronts the east side of the Devils River for about 10 miles before the river begins merging with the Amistad International Reservoir on the Rio Grande near Del Rio. The ranch, which is largely desert scrub, includes a large lodge, several other residences and an airstrip.
The Devils River State Natural Area also is on the east side of the river about 13 miles upstream, and the two properties will compose a single state nature complex on the river.
The purchase means that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department now controls about 38,000 acres adjacent to Devils River, which is only 90 miles long but is regarded as the purest natural waterway in Texas and is considered sacred by anglers, paddlers, campers, hikers and wildlife lovers.
The deal was in contrast to a land swap proposal in early November in which the state and Sanders would have exchanged ownership of the two large tracts, and Sanders would have received $8 million in cash.
I'm looking forward to checking this place out.