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Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

by Ken Rudine

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All 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.

TPWD Mission: 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.

Operation seeks 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 future.

WBC Mission: 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.
Words 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 guess.

© Ken Rudine, March 1, 2005

Park Location
Located along the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo County
5 miles SW of Mission.

Directions - From Mission, take US 83; continue west 2.5 miles on Loop 374, then south 2.6 miles on FM 2062. Enter on Park Road 43.

Park Information
P O Box 988 Mission TX 78573-0988

Nearby Destinations
  • Boca Chica State Park
  • Edinburg
  • Los Ebanos - Don't miss the hand operated ferry
  • McAllen
  • Mission

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