Texans are being deprived of their usual access by the Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department empowerment of The World Birding Center. This
is upsetting particularly to Texans who have previously visited Bentsen-Rio
Grande Valley State Park because they know the way things used to
be. It is unclear whether the WBC is a creation of TPWD or not.
The World Birding Center has seen the value of the birding parks in
the Lower Rio Grande Valley. It is now centered at B-RGVSP. The WBC
is a network of nine sites along 120 miles of river road from South
Padre Island west to Roma.
Their park entrance people also point with pride at their RV Park
across the street as a WBC profit center.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is a State Department without a leader made
up of committees. That means no person has the authority and commensurate
responsibility. Another way of saying, “If something good happens
it is an accident and if something bad happens, it is no one’s fault.”
This lack of authority/responsibility prevents good vision and leadership
from being identified and perpetuated. Good people move on while the
weak and unskilled remain, staffing committees.
Compare this to a private sector manufacturing manager given similar
tools for success. With a needed product to produce, a building to
do it in and some machines with which to operate: sales are told -
to seek orders, and manufacturing would furnish the products. Those
products would be made with quality, service, and people to make a
profit. It is useless to give good service if the quality is poor.
It is also useless to try for quality if the people are poor. Therefore
quality always comes first, then service, then your people, which
forms to equal profit. If you do these things in this order, you get
to keep your job – and you know why. TPWD seems focused on the goal,
not the path of generating increased revenue.
Logically apply the above at TPWD, where the first thing they tell
you is "we are understaffed." I suggest, “they are under motivated”
and probably overstaffed. In manufacturing staffing is defined by
determining how many workers are dictated by product orders. Analysis
of orders requirements define needed labor, material and overhead
to establish daily goals. By comparing what was accomplished to these
daily goals, monthly financial statements will have “zero surprises”.
If people understand their goals, they will work to exceed expectations.
Usually the importance of mission statements cannot be over emphasized.
The TPWD and WBC mission statements are different. Compare these statements
and see what they reveal. Then, look how they propose to operate.
Unfortunately these statements have such broad meaning, they are worthless.
To manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas
and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities
for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
to balance outdoor recreation with conservation as we achieve greater
self-sufficiency. On one hand, we must manage and protect our natural
and cultural resources. At the same time, we must generate increased
revenue by adding value through more and better public services.
We affirm that a culturally diverse well-trained staff will best
achieve this balance. And we must never forget, not in the haste
of business, nor in the pride of science, that the outdoors should
above all be a source of joy! Providing outdoor experiences, whereby
young minds form values, will be our greatest contribution to the
To protect native habitat while increasing the understanding and appreciation
of the birds and wildlife.
Operation proposes to do this by offering viewing stations, watching
towers, interpretive centers and programs. They recognize that bird
watching is a booming national pastime, and for the Lower Rio Grande
Valley, it’s also big business. Local people benefit from tourism
revenue and birds/wildlife benefit from protected lands. Tourists
are spending millions of dollars each year for the chance to see our
famous birds. Their goal is to grow tourism and grow the number of
acres protected in the Rio Grande Valley.
mean things. B-RGVSP rules did not need changing. WBC’s only proposed
change was no overnight camping. Now we see what WBC really had in
mind, a 40-minute tram rides without time for quality viewing and
photography. Prohibiting personal vehicle use in this large park is
wrong. WBC’s influence on the other eight sites is anyone’s
© Ken Rudine, March 1, 2005
Guide to Texas State Parks
Guide to Texas Parks, Lakes, and Forests, 5th Edition : Where
to Go and How to Get There
and Backpacking Trails of Texas: Walking, Hiking, and Biking
Trails for All Ages and Abilities!
Atlas and Gazetteer (Texas Atlas & Gazetteer) by Delorme