And that's a good thing. It was bought with private donations, and by all accounts is an extremely nice piece of property with about 10 miles of river frontage on the pristine Devil's River.
Here's the article from the Statesman:
Up river, there's already the Devil's River State Natural Area. That area has about a mile of river frontage. There's great fishing in that area, particularly for fishers of the fly. Years ago, smallmouth bass were found to be able to live in the cool waters year round, and in the absence of any real fishing pressure, they flourished. I've read that largemouth bass, catfish and a variety of panfish are also found in the Devil's.
There was a recent feature article in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine wherein the intrepid writer and a buddy came to Texas, rented a 4wd in San Antonio and headed south to the Devil's. They hired a guide, and he has access or owns a lot in a subdivision that is on the Devil's River. But to get to the guide's place, you had to traverse a "river road" some miles in length that actually required driving in the river, yes, in the river, over some pretty tough terrain.
Although I've never been there, I hereby swear to change that fact sometime in the first half of 2011. I do know from extensive reading and from talking with friends who have canoe'd or kayaked the Devil's or have fished at the State Natural Area and in the Dolan Falls area, that EVERYTHING in and around the river scratches, bites, scrapes, sticks, pricks, cuts, rips and otherwise damages you and your gear. Nature in that area is equipped to survive, and the Devil's is literally an oasis in the middle of South Texas semi-desert country. Surface water in that part of Texas that is not "seasonal" is a rarity, and thus abundant wildlife can be found all around the Devil's River ecosystem.
The Devil's River has long been proclaimed the cleanest river in Texas. To the east of the Devil's River lies the "Country of 11oo Springs", as said for years in advertisements for Pearl Beer, which was brewed with "clear spring water" from the aforesaid "Country of 1100 Springs".
But to the west of Rocksprings, there are not near as many year round creeks or rivers as there are to the east. So the Devil's River is literally an oasis in that part of Texas.
It's not just environmentally tough. Here's some links to previous posts I've made about the Devil's River with and other links including a great article by Joe Nick Patoski. http://www.joenickp.com/water/devilsriver.html.
3 Cool Texas fishing spots
Joe Nick Patoski
Southwest Fly Fishing
And here, where I seem to forget about the State Natural Area as a fishing option but I regale you with why Billy Ray and I won't be kayaking the Devil's River, or any River for that matter. More Devil's River and Kayaking Musings
There was also at least one website talking about the not too distant past of perhaps 15 or 20 years ago when a fellow who I think is a guide there was beseiged with gunfire from a hidden gunman, who apparently wasn't kidding.
So it's still the wild west in some parts. Landowners in many parts of Texas are mighty serious about folks not setting foot on their riverbank, and many consider the old Spanish common law rule that the landowner owns the land to the middle of the river to be the law of the land, which it is not. I know I've heard stories about barbed wire in the past across the Devil's, and I've personally seen barbed wire across a river on the Medina and the James Rivers. Many times.
I've heard tell of river runners on the Devil's being greeted by long arm bearing landowners and advised to keep on paddling. I know it's happened on other rivers but this is one place it could be likely to happen.
I have a aquaintance that bought a five acre lot that has about 1000' of river frontage on the west bank of the Devil's about 10 years ago. At $50K, it was a bargain, considering it came with a fairly decent trailer that was mounted on a elevated platform like a beachhouse. I saw pictures of his place, and there were several nice deep pools in the river fronting his place.
Apparently it is an arduous trek to get to many of the locations on the Devil's River, which of course is why it is still a nice place. Although my land owning friend didn't have to drive through the river to get to his land, he did say that he had to travel about 25 miles over a variety of trail-like roads and private right of ways to get to his place.
As I recall, it's about a 15 or 20 mile drive on a bad unpaved "road" to get to the State Natural Area, but Billy Ray says he's ready to go for it in his new 4WD Jeep.
More later about the Devil's River.
And Merry Christmas to all of you of my persuasion. And for all others, Happy Holidays!
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