Environmentalists are hailing a state panel's decision to buy 18,000 acres of wilderness along a remote West Texas river without trading a pristine state natural preserve in the bargain.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted Monday to buy the Devil's River Ranch in Val Verde County along 10 miles of the pristine river. In so doing, the state will use $4 million in public money along with more than $10 million in private donations to close the purchase of the land from Dallas businessman Rod Sanders.
The state originally had planned to trade the 20,000-acre Devil's River State Natural Area for the land, but nature lovers who enjoyed the state tract's hiking and kayaking protests the plan.
In a statement issued Monday, the Sierra Club commended the commission decision.