AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Thursday meeting approved the acquisition of approximately 658 acres to expand a state park in El Paso that already ranks as the largest urban park in the continental United States.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will purchase a parcel of land that straddles Loop 375, also known as Trans Mountain Road, to further extend the Franklin Mountains State Park’s western reach into the surrounding high desert country. The acquisition will bring the state park’s total acreage to more than 26,000 acres.
According to a release by TPWD, the El Paso Public Service Board offered the property to TPWD at a bargain sale price. They add, the tract of undeveloped land will provide a buffer from pending new city growth and increase public recreational opportunities through the possible future expansion of the park’s trail system.
According to TPWD, after much land use discussion about the environmental impact due to encroaching development on the western flanks of the Franklin Mountains, the El Paso City Council this past summer agreed to the sale. The TPW Commission’s vote was the final action required to consummate the land deal.
Photo of Franklins covered in snow courtesy Brent Clarke