Lake Houston Wilderness Park
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department's park acreage was expanded by nearly 5,000 acres Friday, August 25, 2006, when Mayor Bill White accepted the Ceremonial Transfer of Lake Houston State Park from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“This transfer is a wonderful opportunity for both the City of Houston and surrounding counties to preserve green space and to increase tourism and economic development that will benefit the entire area," said Mayor Bill White.
Having managed the park since 1981, the directors at TPWD agreed that the department’s current budgetary strictures combined with the interest presented by local government made the park transfer a good decision for all concerned.
“This is a great day for us, a very positive day for us and for the park,” said Robert L. Cook, Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We are proud to be a part of improving the quality of life for people, and transferring this site to local control is the best decision.”
The park will be renamed Lake Houston Park and will be managed by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The parkland sits in Houston’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, and straddles the Harris-Montgomery County line. Montgomery County Precinct 4 will provide assistance with the management of the park.
“Montgomery County is excited about this project,“ said Alan B. Sadler, Montgomery County Judge. “I promise you, when you come back 5 or 10 years from now, you will see that the land will be in even better shape.”
Cooperation and partnerships have been pivotal factors in making this transfer possible.
”This wouldn’t be possible for us to have this to enjoy if we didn’t have the kind of regional partnership that we have,” said Senator Tommy Williams, District 4, “and I look forward to working with the commissioners court of both counties and with you, Mayor White, as we move forward together to make our region a better place to live.”
The City Parks Department is excited about the opportunity to preserve the greenspace for today and for the future. “Twenty years from now, this area will be surrounded by residential development,” said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, “and right in the middle will be almost 5,000 acres of parkland for all to enjoy.”
Joe Bill Cochran
At the time of the transfer, Joe Bill Cochran was the Lake Houston Park Manager. His credentials include a degree in Forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University, 12 years of managing state parks for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and most recently 17 years serving as the founder and head of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Park Rangers.
Local media from several cities covered the event, and it was attended by representatives of a number of volunteer groups that work with HPARD on a regular basis. The kayak demonstration in nearby Peach Creek was a particular favorite for all the photographers and videographers present.
Speakers at the Ceremonial Transfer included Houston Mayor Bill White; Director Robert L. Cook, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Montgomery County Judge Alan B. Sadler; Houston City Council Member Addie Wiseman, District E; and Senator Tommy Williams, District 4. Houston Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner emceed the event.