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Saturday, March 30, 2013






Saturday,  9:00 AM. Weatherford, Texas. 59 degrees F, wind S, moderate.  The sky is clear after a terrific thunder and lightning storm last night about 1:00 AM.  It caused Allison to crawl in bed with her parents, and Buddy to try the same, unsuccessfully, with us. It should be a nice day but the weather is unsettled and may produce some rainy weather in the next few days.
   Yesterday’s picnic at Mineral Wells State Park was nice, and very restful.  The park is designed around a good sized impoundment on the Brazos River.  It is very naturalistic and has camping and fishing and extensive horse trails that reach out far beyond its borders.  The land of Texas, a state the size of France, is 90% privately owned, so the state park system is very important, especially to urban dwellers.     Since there is so much privately held land, including natural areas and hunting land, private enterprise plays a large part in public outdoor recreation.  It is an interesting departure from the rest of the country as regards conservation, natural resources and outdoor recreation, even extending to outdoor and conservation education.  It is a model worth much more study than I think it gets, and many lessons could be learned from it.  The state park yearly tag is $70, which I don’t see s particularly prohibitive; on the other hand daily fees are I think quite expensive, making the private outdoor recreation businesses pretty competitive with the public parks, I would think.  I am going to research the subject and see what kind of comparative studies have been done.  I know from my own personal experience that excessive public ownership and regulation of land and other outdoor resources can lead to,  or at least contribute to, the economic destitution of entire regions and the decimation of state and local tax bases (upstate New York and northern Wisconsin are two cases in point). 
   The states really should, as the Constitution envisioned, be the testing grounds for national policy, and that applies to natural resources and outdoor recreation as well.

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