Editor’s Note: Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), posted this comment on the “America’s Great Outdoors” website in response to a solicitation of ideas that work in the nation’s outdoor recreation theater. This and other posts are located at http://ideas.usda.gov/ago/ideas.nsf/0/29BC06CDA181B6118625782500506E85.

Lake Grapevine is one of several US Army Corps of Engineers sites in the Fort Worth District — serving about 6 million residents in and around Dallas. the lake has a variety of day use sites, campgrounds and marinas. In 2000, the USACE, the City of Grapevine and Gaylord worked out a series of leases and subleases that are working extremely well. the agreements are very complex, and required lots of negotiations — and the partners in the agreement continue to meet to adjust and coordinate efforts.

At the heart of the agreement was a long-term lease of Corps lands (Fee and Flowage) to the City of Grapevine for public recreation purposes. The bottom line is that the city took on operation and mainenance roles for many of the recreation sites on the lake, saving the USACE some $200,000 in annual costs. And the city has invested in these sites, improving them substantially. In addition to some fee revenue, the cost to the city is met by a sublease with Gaylord, which has built the Gaylord Texan hotel on the shoreline of Lake Grapevine, in part on an old Boy Scouts of America camp and in part on USACE land under lease to the city.

The deal is complex and it takes time to look at the entire package to assess its impact. We have, and the verdict is clear. The public is getting huge benefits in expanded and sustainable recreational access to the lake. And the Dallas-Fort Worth areaq has a major economic engine — the Gaylord Texan alone has some 2,000 employees, and the agreementg has also boosted employment with the City of Grapevine parks department and with local concessioners.

Bravo, City of Grapevine, USACE Fort Worth District and Gaylord.