The National Parks Conservation Association, Houston Wilderness, and Rice University’s SSPEED Center has released its report, Opportunity Knocks: How the Proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area Could Attract Visitors, Boost Business, and Create Jobs, according to Guidry News Service:
The report identifies several benefits of national recreation area designation, including:
National Park Service visitor appeal. NPS affiliation would put the Upper Texas Gulf Coast on par with the nation’s finest public lands and offer exposure to national and international markets. At seven NPS sites similar to Lone Star, visitation grew an average of 565% in the first ten years of operation.
Coordination among land managers toward common goals and functions. Resource protection, programming, facility construction and maintenance, and signage can all benefit from coordination.
Reduction in property damage from flooding and storm surge. A national recreation area could promote long-term, coordinated storm protection. The cost savings could be dramatic, both in diminished property damage and in avoided costs of installing massive flood-control structures.
Long-term cost savings for local governments. Maintaining the region’s working and open lands makes local governments money over time.
“This Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area is a creative economic development and hurricane surge flooding mitigation concept,” said Jim Blackburn of the SSPEED Center at Rice University. “It is a proposed evolution of the economic system of the low-lying coastal lands so that it is compatible with inundation, making our economy resilient and sustainable. This recreation area concept offers great potential and opportunity for the future.” MORE