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Preserve What Makes Lake Houston Area Unique

During my life, I’ve explored 49 states. But the state I choose to call home is Texas, and there’s no place I’d rather live in Texas than the Lake Houston Area. That’s in large part due to our proximity to nature and our fierce commitment to preservation.

This country has a lot to love. But if you love being close to nature, jobs, the arts, education, transportation, and medical care, no place I’ve found offers a better balance than the Lake Houston Area.

Our Unique Selling Proposition

You can find everything in that list above in every major metropolitan area in the country…with one exception – nature.

Sure, when you’re in other cities, you can get in your car and drive several hours to enjoy nature. Here, it’s outside your back door and down the block. Along hundreds of miles of greenbelts that wind through your neighborhood and along waterways. In the country’s largest urban nature park – the 5,000-acre Lake Houston Wilderness Park. And in the national forests and wildlife refuges that surround us.

Looking north toward Lake Houston Wilderness Park. It’s six times larger than New York’s Central Park.
Looking south along the East Fork toward Lake Houston in background over Kingwood’s East End Park, home to more than 140 species of birds, many of them threatened or endangered.

The Value of Nature

Nature is more than a place to explore. It’s a natural sedative. It’s restful. It quiets the soul and the mind. It sustains sanity. It’s an evolutionary anchor in a fast-changing society. The womb of the world. A protective refuge from conference reports, tax forms, sales quotas, deadlines, and performance reviews. It’s a place to just breathe, bask, and be.

Property Rights and Profit

To developers and sand miners who shout “property rights” in their quest for profits, I would say, “Go ahead, develop your land as you wish. Just realize what you’re selling. Don’t destroy the uniqueness that makes your property worth more than it otherwise would be if you cut down the forest, filled in the wetlands, and turned natural streams into concrete ditches.

“Hey, Dear. Let’s take the kids for a walk along the ditch. I hear the sand mine’s water turned neon green! It’ll be fun. What do you say? We can bring the dog. He’ll find plenty of dead frogs to eat.”

Yeah, people will commute an extra hour, and pay a premium to live ten feet from noisy neighbors and that!

Colony Ridge development east of Plum Grove, TX. Not long ago, this was all forests and wetlands. It’s less than three miles from Lake Houston Wilderness Park.
Water at Hallett Mine on West Fork. Photographed 12/7/2020.
Looking west up the West Fork of San Jacinto toward 20 square miles of sand mines. Photo taken in September. Water flows toward camera and then left out of frame into Lake Houston,

Plea for Preservation

So, developers and miners, please think carefully before exercising your property rights. Once the forest is gone, it’s gone forever. You will alter the watershed inalterably. Preserve the wetlands that keep surrounding areas from flooding. Preserve the “brand” you’re selling. You’re not just selling sticks and bricks. You’re selling safety.

Preserving nature preserves profit potential for generations to come.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/23/2020

1212 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.