Accessing Our Rivers: The RACA Team – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]

(dove) (music) (water splash) [Timothy Birdsong]
Texas has over a hundred ninety one thousand miles of wild and scenic rivers and over 95
percent of the state is in private ownership. We have state owned public reaches of stream
but it’s difficult to access those areas because of private ownership of river banks. (flowing water) [John Botros]
I coordinate a little program called the River Access and Conservation Program. We call it RACA for short. We find land owners that are willing to allow
access across their property. [Timothy]
We’ve created these access opportunities on places like the Brazos River, the Guadalupe
River, Neches River…at this point over a hundred miles of Texas rivers. (flowing water) [John]
Running a program like this requires lots of different expertise. We’ve done a pretty good job and I cannot
be prouder of my team. (flowing water) (music) [Joe Joplin]
Imagine walking through a desert landscape just completely dry, full of cactus, and all
of a sudden you come over this edge of a mesa and you look down and you see what you believe
to be a mirage of Carribean like turquoise water. And that’s the same vision that people from
10,000 years that have lived in this area, you know prehistoric humans, have been drawn
to that same view. (music) [Beau Hester]
It has a special way of you becoming a part of the river. [Joe]
Well, the history of the RACA program, it came about by me going to Austin to the Parks
and Wildlife Headquarters, and in the meeting room before the meeting, there was an issue
of Parks and Wildlife magazine there on the table and in that magazine there was a story
about this program. I got back, I talked to Beau, we reached out
to Tim Birdsong in the fisheries and he said yeah this would this would work if
you want to reach out to landowners and see if there is some interest. [Beau]
Most of the land owners, who are staunch protectors and guardians of the river, they didn’t
say no, but they said heck no. The last land owner that we asked
and that Joe asked was Dale Dickinson at Skyline Ranch. [Dell Dickinson]
The best way to protect the river was keep people off. I was totally against it. [Beau]
And Dell said no, and I thought we were, that the program was dead in the water. (music) (dragging boat) [Dell]
As people have come in over the years they don’t have the same sense of history and heritage
that the old folks do. However, I’ve also found the longer those
folks are out here, the more they have come to appreciate what we consider so dear. (water) [Joe]
I get a random call like I do every once in awhile from him and he said, remember that
conversation we had two weeks ago, Joe? And I was like, yeah. And he was like well, you know, I think we
want to pursue that. [Beau]
Dell and I met Riverside and had a frank conversation about active monitoring on the site. [Beau]
Is everybody tent camping, or is anyone sleeping on flat rocks in the group? [Paddler]
I think we might have one sleeping on flat rocks. [Dell]
I was astounded at the results. They were almost immediate and from my standpoint,
totally effective. We had, historically, ever increasing trespassing
incidents and trash incidents. Those, essentially, went to zero. (water flowing) [Dell]
I would give almost anything to protect this river. (music) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
my hope is that we all don’t love it to death. [Beau]
I do have a five-year-old son, Benjamin will be six in August. I would hope that we can take care of the
river, so that when he’s old enough, he can go experience the same river then, as we enjoy today. (flowing water) [Beau]
This place is cleansing to the soul. (flowing water) (music)

2 thoughts on “Accessing Our Rivers: The RACA Team – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]

  1. Great job, Joe, Beau and especially Dell! Thanks for all of your efforts to protect the river.

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