Texas River Access

Tom Birdsong enjoying river access.

Tom Birdsong enjoying river access.

This is Passport to Texas

Legal access to Texas Rivers can be challenging.

Texas is a private land state. Over 95% of the land in the state is privately owned, and that’s reflected in ownership of banks along rivers.

Tim Birdsong is a rivers biologist. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s paddling trails program works with communities to create access to some of the 191,000 miles of Texas Rivers. Currently, we have 70 trails in the system.

Seventy trails, 191,000 miles of rivers—that’s a drop in the bucket. There are lots of high quality river segments that aren’t accessible because of this preponderance of private lands ownership. So, we look for opportunities to bring landowners into the mix, and provide a win-win scenario where we can provide a cost share arrangement; provide payments to landowners to lease private lands for public access to rivers. And this is real similar to our public hunting program that we’ve had in place for years.

This partnership with local landowners allows Texans to more fully enjoy the natural beauty that our rivers have to offer.

We began leasing these private lands for access to bank, wade and kayak fishing in 2012. And now, we’re up to 19 different lease-access sites statewide on 10 different rivers.

Texas Parks and Wildlife seeks landowners with riverfront property strategically positioned to expand current Texas Padding Trails, connect to parks, or provide connections to other public river access areas. Find program details on the TPW website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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