To the editor,
Glen rose recently passed a city ordinance prohibiting pole fishing, net fishing and bow fishing at Big Rocks park. Big Rocks is rented by the city from the Methodists, and to my knowledge occupies the northern side of the Paluxy River in GR.
I am very unhappy about this as an avid fly fisherman, and as a person who routinely fishes for dinner in the river. As such, I am very familiar with Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations on freshwater fishing. Also, I have spoken with the local game warden regarding this matter.
The crux of the issue: The city cannot regulate the water. All navigable streams belong to the State of Texas and are available to public use to the high water mark. Other states have different laws concerning property ownership. For example, in Colorado the landowner owns the property into the stream bed itself. Texas law allows anglers to navigate these waters from any public access point.
According to the TPWD warden, so long as I have my ID and current fishing license, and am obeying the fishing laws, I wont be ticketed-even in Big Rocks Park. The ordinance does not specify Big Rocks Park as being the banks of, off the weir (off channel reservoir installed last year impounding water directly upstream of BRP) which is arguably city property and capable of being regulated by a city ordinance, or any other specificity.
According to the powers that be, this was done primarily for the bow fishing which was (tasteless) being done this spring, and for the fear of young children with casting nets hurting themselves or others. Additionally the fear of hooks in peoples feet came up. These are all LIABILITIES that can be encountered at any public water such as Dinosaur Valley State Park, Whitney or Granbury Lake, etc. In creating an attractive nuisance to ensure future water supply, the city of Glen Rose is worried about the insurance claims and ensuing liability.
We also have a conflicting area of jurisdiction with the city trying to legislate control over a body of water they have no control on. The city police would have no jurisdiction over anglers IN THE WATER at BRP, yet by the ordinance might write a ticket.
Other city recreational water areas have restrictions in the TPWD handbook-published yearly and available online and wherever licenses are sold. For example, any state park where the water in within the boundaries of the state park-pole fishing only. Several other areas of water, community fishing lakes, etc have equipment restrictions-typically pole fishing only.
Swimmers and fishers share the water every day at Dinosaur Valley State park, and public waterways everywhere. Any serious, and generally responsible, The fisherman would shun areas crowded with people if they came to fish on the river and found it full of swimmers. We just walk downstream. Likewise, I would expect a swimmer to give a fisher a little breathing room of the fisher was there first. The problem is the ‘red-neck’ fisher casting huge baits off the top of the weir into a group of 8 year old kids. The kids cant see him (and really don’t know better) and he is stubbornly going to stay there. SO REGULATE THE BANKS AND WEIR-all city property.
When we saw in the paper that the city council was going to vote on outlawing net fishing and bow fishing we were pleased. However, the council took it upon themselves to include Pole fishing, and the public was not properly informed of the change. We feel this is illegal, and harassing. In fact, under the Sportsman’s Protection Act, it is illegal to harass an angler or hunter.
I would encourage you to write a story on this issue which has Ducks Unlimited as well as Trout Unlimited taking action as we speak. I would like the city council to explain their actions, ask whether they looked into alternatives, get the local city cop-Weldon-to give his opinion, interview a local game warden on their stance, and even go higher talking to the local
Waco TPWD office. We have informed many of our local fisher people who are aghast that a city would encroach on peoples State Rights to such an offensive level.
Garry Acuncius and Megan Cooke
Last week, it was my pleasure to speak during the 2008-09 school kick off activities for employees of Glen Rose Independent School District. It was an honor to do so.
I have never seen a more enthusiastic and determined group of educators, all committed to their respective positions on the team that will serve youngsters in Glen Rose ISD during the coming year.
I salute Board President Mrs. Marilyn Phillips and her colleagues, along with Superintendent Wayne Rotan, a person who is as capable as any administrator I've ever met.
I predict that this will be one of the finest school years in the history of the schools, and urge the community to continue the strong support for which it is known. With people like these, and with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, great things will happen during 2008-09!
Dr. Don Newberry
“The Idle American”