Johnson City, Texas - The National Park Service is in the final stage of a process in the development of an amendment to the General Management Plan approved in 1999 for Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. The public is invited to comment on the amendment.
Interested members of the community may pick up a copy of the report at the headquarters of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, 100 E. Ladybird Lane, Johnson City. Additionally, the plan is available via the internet through the National Park Service website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. On the home page for the site, select the tab “Choose a Park”, then select Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, and then select-”open for comment” near the top of the webpage. The public is encouraged to make comments to help the National Park Service make the best decision concerning public resources.
The public is invited to share their comments at an open house meeting at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park headquarters on Tuesday, August 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Park staff will be in attendance to discuss issues related to the future of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
This document will, when enacted, guide the operation and management of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park over the next decade and beyond. The amended plan examines the transportation plan for the LBJ Ranch district of the National Park. Under the 1999 plan, bus tours conducted by the National Park Service were the only way for park visitors to visit the important landmark. The 1999 plan was written based on security restrictions in place on the ranch at that time. Upon the death of Mrs. Johnson, the National Park Service began a re-evaluation of the park general management plan. According to the park superintendent, Russ Whitlock, “the passing of Mrs. Johnson in 2007 allowed the park to reevaluate future plans that had dismissed private vehicle access to the ranch.”
With the United States Secret Service security restrictions around the Texas White House no longer in place, the park enacted a test period in 2008 which allowed private vehicles access to the LBJ Ranch. The test period has shown a doubling of the visitation at the LBJ Ranch. This test has led the National Park Service to believe that continuation of less restricted access is beneficial to the public and the National Park Service.
In the amendment to the general management plan, the National Park Service has identified a “preferred alternative,” which permanently shifts the management of the LBJ Ranch from a restricted access bus tour-only operation to a less restricted public access plan which allows public visitation by private vehicle. This will expand opportunities for public education and recreation. The preferred alternative gives discretion to the park managers to utilize bus travel on the ranch to meet public demand. Russ Whitlock stated, “It is crucial that any plan for operating the park carefully evaluates the potential for damage to park resources.” The plan has not identified any such potential damage.