Proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area
Hurricane Ike taught us that undeveloped lands along the coast can serve as a natural buffer for a tremendous amount of storm surge tide, reducing flooding and property damage further inland. Assembling undeveloped lands along the Upper Texas Coast into a National Recreation Area has been proposed as one strategy for preserving this critical flood control capacity while generating significant economic advantages for local communities.
The Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area would include sites spanning four coastal counties: Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston, and Chambers. This region boasts natural areas, outdoor recreation opportunities, and historical sites. The proposed area would be built around a core of existing sites through coordinated management by public, private, and nonprofit landowners.
A National Recreation Area is a designation given by Congress to land and water with significant outdoor recreation potential. National Recreation Areas enjoy an enhanced stature among the universe of recreational designations. They are chosen because of unique recreational potential and are recognized and valued by tourists from around the world. Parks designated as National Recreation Areas are an especially good fit for Texas because they allow for significant local control.
A National Recreation Area for the Upper Texas Coast would include only those public and private land owners who voluntarily chose to participate. It is envisioned as a non-contiguous cluster of lands, historic sites and structures within Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston and Chambers counties, to be managed under a custom-built partnership agreement between these participating land owners and the National Park Service, which provides a coordinating presence for visitor services and tourism marketing.
A steering committee comprising a diverse group of national, state and local community leaders have helped shape the concept and garner support from the broad array of decision makers necessary to realize a national recreation area. The steering committee is chaired by local business leader John L. Nau, III and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III.
A Partners Coalition of participating public and private landowners within the project area have collaborated to develop recommendations regarding the composition and function of a joint governing body for the Recreation Area. They also work together to educate and engage citizens, businesses and organizations throughout the region.