Today's decision by the School Land Board to postpone the sale of the Christmas Mountains for ninety days is encouraging news. Yesterday, Commissioner Patterson announced that he would push the two other members of the School Land Board to accept one of the two private bids for the Christmas Mountains and gave an ultimatum to the National Park Service to change their policy on hunting or lose their right to try to add the property to Big Bend National Park. That did not happen, so clearly the other two board members are not comfortable with this deal. We thank Todd Barth and David Herrmann for respecting the strong public opposition to this sale and for seeking out a better solution.
It's unclear whether the Board is making hunting and firearms a precondition of NPS acquisition, as Patterson wants, but it's a good sign that the other two board members didn't go along with his plan. The fact the school land board didn't explicitly require hunting as a precondition in their resolution seems to indicate they are backing away from that position. If that's the case, we think it's great news and the future looks a lot brighter for the Christmas Mountains becoming part of Big Bend National Park.
We look forward to working with the School Land Board, the National Park Service, and Congress in the coming months to find a final solution that will keep the Christmas Mountains in public hands and that will maintain the integrity of Texas' word.