TX public-land boss says mountains unwanted

Rob Luke Nov. 1, 2007, 1:58pm

Jerry Patterson

AUSTIN -- The office of Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says he didn't block the federal National Park Service (NPS) from acquiring a state-owned mountain range now up for sale.

LNL reported on a blog written by Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger stating that Patterson stopped the NPS from acquiring the 9,200-acre Christmas Mountains in west Texas near Big Bend National Park.

But Texas General Land Office (GLO) Press Secretary Jim Suydam wrote LNL today stating that the reverse is true. "The Land Office has offered the land several times to the National Park Service," he wrote, only to be rejected each time. "The National Park Service has never made an offer to buy the land," Suydam added.

Patterson announced in a September press release that all six initial bids to buy the range were rejected because of a mistake in the property's delineation. Both the NPS and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had rejected the property before the GLO received it in 1991, the release stated.

GLO wants to sell the mountains because it can't by law "invest the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to fence the land to protect it from poachers and to restore it to its original, native state." Environmental groups have enlisted Gov. Rick Perry and AG Greg Abbott to block the sale.

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