Temple Man Hopes to Rally Citizens at Park Closure Protest
It’s been 14 days since the closure of parks surrounding area lakes due to the partial shutdown of the federal government, and one local man is not content to sit quietly by.
Bill Biggs of Temple will be in Leona Park off Highway 36 just north of Moffat Monday and Tuesday to stage a protest against the closures. He arrived at the park on Belton Lake around 2 p.m. Monday and says he plans to stick around “until dark”. He’ll be back at the site Tuesday evening beginning at 6. The Leona Park Gate is located at the east end of the Long Bridge over Belton Lake.
Biggs is part of a local fishing group that takes soldiers and their families fishing for catfish and striper on the lake. The closure of area parks has made it difficult for him and his companions to access and enjoy the lake. It’s something that has caused headaches for many Central Texans, and Biggs hopes to see them turn out and join him.
During a phone interview Monday, Biggs stressed the fact that the protest is non-partisan and not affiliated with any political group.
“What I’m protesting is the locked gates of unmanned parks,” Biggs said.
He said that while Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake belong to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the water belongs to the State of Texas, and that denying the public access to the lakes is absurd.
“They’re denying me access to my property,” he said. “I’m a resident of the state of Texas and they’re denying me access.”
Biggs hopes word of the impromptu protest will spread quickly so that community members can draw attention to the problem and hopefully make the voices of frustrated lake-goers heard. A flyer for the event posted to Facebook on Monday invites local fisherman and boaters to “show up with [their] boat or fishing poles.” According to the flyer, access to gated boat ramps and unmanned parks along the shoreline is being denied even to those citizens who have paid for a yearly lake access permit issued by the Corps of Engineers.
Anyone wishing to participate may contact Mr. Biggs at 254-541-2869 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will bring you more on this story as it develops.