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Don Kennard

TRANSCRIBER: Robin Johnson
REELS: 2015 and 2016
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: June 21,1999

Note: Numbers indicate timemarks on the VHS tape copy of interview. “Misc.” refers to various off-camera conversation and background noise unrelated to the interview.

DT: My name is David Todd. I’m here for the Conservation History Association of Texas. It’s June 21, 1999. We’re in Austin, Texas in the state capitol. We’re visiting with Senator Don Kennard and we’re visiting with him about his many contributions to conservation in Texas, both of historic and natural resources. Thank you for spending time with us.
02:08 – 2015
DK: Well, thank you. I’m gonna look forward to it.
DT: Tell us about how your family or other people in your early life might have interested you in the outdoors and conservation.
02:24 – 2015
DK: Well, I think my dad probably had an awful lot to do with it. He—he—I grew up in—I was an only child in the—in the family. And my dad loved to hunt birds. He was a great quail hunter and—and a dog man. And we—we had bird dogs from the day I was born until—until I left home. He was—he was very good with dogs and he loved the outdoors and he liked to hunt and he liked to camp out and he just liked to get out away from the big city and—and spend time in the open spaces and so he—he took me on a lot of
03:03 – 2015
DK: camping trips as a—as a youngster and he was—he was very interested in that sort of thing. And so it a great heritage right there. He—he—he’s the best man I’ve ever—he was a very gentle man with his dogs and they responded and it was a pleasure just to watch him work with dogs if nothing else.
DT: Could you tell about how he would work with the dogs and relate to them?
03:26 – 2015
DK: Well, yes, I can tell you one kind of an interesting story on it. He would—lot of times we—we hunted quail often out in—in West Texas. We—we had a—a—had an uncle out there in Lubbock and we would go out during the Christmas holidays and we would hunt along the Cap Rock from Lubbock up to Memphis. And my Uncle Jeff knew all of the old farmers and old ranchers. He had been in the insurance business there. And he would call ahead and get permission for us to go in and hunt on the place. And we’d-we’d work our way down to Memphis and spend the night and then we’d work our way back up to Lubbock. We’d do about a three day hunt trip like that. And it would be pretty chilly out there in–in the winter time and my dad would always carry a little flask of a little bourbon with him. And—and after the long day hunt, he would—he would mix a toddy for his dogs. Kind of relax them a little bit. And they loved it. So he—he was—he sure liked his dogs.
DT: Can you tell me about some of the places you went camping and some of those trips?
04:34 – 2015
DK: Well, yes, over in East Texas. He was born in Longview, Texas. He went into the Army in World War II and fought through the Argonne and three—three major battles and he was a Master Sergeant in the Signal Corps. And when he came back and as a young man, they did a lot of hunting and fishing and camping out over in—in East Texas area. He was familiar with the Big Thicket. We would go over into the Big Thicket and hunt squirrels a lot on the Trinity River bottom and then when we’d go up to Longview, we’d hunt quail and we’d hunt squirrels and—and do a little fishing and that sort of thing. He always wanted to float a river and never did get to do it. He—he always dreamed of taking the Sabine River and floating down on it at some point. But later on when I—after he was gone I—I—was when I really started canoeing and I’d give anything if I had done it at an earlier age where I been able to take him with me. But we had a lot of good hunting trips all over Texas. And he—he’d always stop at the historic sites as we—as we traveled around. And he—he loved Texas history and he—he liked to introduce me to it. So I—I’d say I had a great—there was a great legacy and a great bond of—of history and the outdoors with my dad. He was—when he—he would dress his birds and he was like a surgeon when he’d—he would clean his birds. He would take the feathers off and everything and then he would clean and he would save the hearts and everything. And just the neatest job I’ve ever seen. And he didn’t believe in killing anything unless you were going to—going to eat it and take it home. And—but he—and he never would
06:20 – 2015
DK: shoot doves. His mother had told him that the dove was the bird of peace. And that—that she had picked that up out of the bible and that he shouldn’t kill a dove. He would not shoot a dove. His mother died when he was very young and he really had a deep feeling for his mother. But he never—he never would dove hunt. He’d quail hunt but he wouldn’t dove hunt. He was very—very interesting old man.
DT: Would he also take you fishing?
06:45 – 2015
DK: Well he did a little fishing. We did fishing on the creeks and rivers up there. He was not much of a saltwater man. He enjoyed fishing in ponds and in—on—on the rivers.
DT: You said that he never did a float trip. I understand that you were able to do some canoeing…
07:06 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah, we did a lot of canoeing. We had—we had a little group—Bill Kugle who’s a pretty good conservationist and who was from over in Athens and served with me one term in the legislature, and was a good friend of Bob Burleson and Kugle and myself and Dave Richards and Bob Burleson and just a little group of us did an awful lot of canoeing together.
DT: Where would you go?
07:34 – 2015
DK: Well, we canoed the Rio Grande a lot. Did an awful lot of canoeing. I’ve canoed almost every canyon on the Rio Grande River. And all the way down to—almost to Falcon. And the—then we did—did a lot on The Guadalupe here for a long time. We used the Guadalupe a bit and on the Colorado on a number of occasions but the Rio Grande was the favorite spot to go. We thoroughly enjoyed that.
DT: So I guess you ran some of the rapids through the…
08:04 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah, yeah.
09:57 – 2015
DK: And went through high school there and John Graves, are you familiar with him? Of course, he taught at TCU, went off to the Marine Corps, came back, taught at TCU and one of his first books that I can remember was, Goodbye to A River, which is a trip that he made right after he came back from the war. He took his dog and his shotgun and his fishing rod and his canoe and he put in up at Possum Kingdom Lake, below the dam, and floated down to Granbury, Texas and the reason he did it was because the utility
10:35 – 2015
DK: company was talking about building a big lake down there. They did, Lake Granbury and he wanted to go back and relay this—you know, he used to do that when he was a child and so he spent several weeks making that float trip. And he wrote that book, have you ever read—chance to read the book? Well it’s a wonderful book and he wove in the—the—the—the ecology of the country with the history of the country. And he—the Comanches were very active along the Brazos River, in that part—along that part of the Brazos and that’s really a wonderful book. Every time I get the flu or get sick, I take that book and reread it. I enjoyed it so much. Cause as a kid in high school, in Fort Worth, we used to go over and hunt up and down the Brazos River bottoms and—and on farms over there. We’d hunt doves and hunt quail and hunt a lot of squirrels down there in the pecan groves. They had a lot of natural pecan trees there. But that—that kind of caught my attention too. John Graves, I think, is one of the best writers in Texas along those lines. That’s a wonderful book. While that—that wet my interest in floating too. And the first canoe I ever bought I bought from—through Bob Burleson. He had a brother over at Rosebud, Texas and I went over and picked up my canoe and—and—and 17 foot Grumman, whitewater. I still go the darn thing. And…
DT: An aluminum?
12:05 – 2015
DK: An aluminum canoe, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
DT: Where did you take that canoe?
12:10 – 2015
DK: On my first trip with that one, I think we did some in Guadalupe. And then later on, I took it down the Rio Grande on numerous occasions. I’ve had to rebuild it on one occasion.
DT: Can you tell why you had to rebuild it?
12:23 – 2015
DK: We got to let Ned Fritz use it and he got it caught on a—on a rock and it took us a half a day to get it off. We had to pound it out and put it back together.
DT: You had to…
12:36 – 2015
DK: Ned spend the better part of the day trying to get that canoe off a rock in the Rio Grande River.
DT: You had some adventures out there?
12:44 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah. That’s the—that’s the wonderful country. Wonderful country and we—I really like that—that whole area—Trans Pecos area out there. The one river I haven’t floated that I really want to float one of these days is the Pecos. I’ve never done that. And—my son has and he had a very enjoyable experience on that but one of Burleson’s good friends died on a float trip of a heart attack on the Pecos River. It took them about three days to get him out of there. It was really a tough experience with him—his wife. But Burleson’s the one that got me into the canoe end of it, and our little group. We had a little group we called the Peggy Eton Appreciation Society. And then I don’t know whether you know who Peggy Eton was.
DT: No…
13:35 – 2015
DK: Peggy Eton was the scarlet woman of the Andrew Jackson administration. She—her mother had a boarding house in Washington and most of the politicians stayed at that boarding house and Andrew stayed there—Jackson stayed there too. And her husband was in the Navy. He was an officer in the Navy and he was gone quite a bit and there was a lot of scandal about Jackson had a—loved his wife very much. I don’t think there’s any—Rachel was always the light of his eye but—but he did like this young lady and he—there was a lot of talk about it around Washington. And she—he actually appointed his cabinet—the wives of part of this cabinet threatened to get their husbands to quit because of Peggy Eton. And so she was the scarlet lady and we named—we said—our motto was, any friend of Andy Jackson is a friend of ours. That was our—our river group so we used to—we used to have a lot of fun.
DT: What would you do together? Take these trips?
14:41 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Did a lot of it. We—we’ve covered an awful lot of the Rio Grande. The starting end up just, I guess, about halfway down below Presidio(?) Colorado Canyon is a neat little canyon. That’s in the Big—not in the Big Bend, it’s above the Big Bend. And it’s in that Big Bend Ranch section and it’s a nice little canyon to float. It’s about a one day trip or so. You can do it overnight if you want to.
DT: What does it look like?
15:15 – 2015
DK: Well, it’s a lot like the rest of the—the canyons. It’s—it’s not—the walls are not quite as high there but the—but the—the—the float’s pretty–pretty tricky little float. It’ll keep you on your toes. Nothing real serious but lot of—lot of action. Yeah, it’s a good…
DT: I understand that your early hunting and floating trips helped to expose you to different parts of Texas and get you interested in conservation. Tell us about some of the bills that you decided to push through the senate when you were there.
16:04 – 2015
DK: Well, sure. The—I think one is the Antiquities Code which I take a great deal of pride in. And Bob Burleson really wrote that code. And—and we passed it and it was a interesting—we passed it—didn’t pass it the first time we tried. And then we came back and tried it a second time, when John Connally became governor, and we passed it through the senate. I had gone to the senate the same time he went to the—became governor. He came out for us and as I did too. And we passed it out of the senate and sent it to the house and it died at the dang—the latter part of the house. Didn’t get it—get it up in time. And so, he had called a special session that summer and I got him to include that in the call. And, in the meantime, the Spanish Trader had been discovered off the coast of Texas and Jerry Sadler had made an arrangement with the fellow who came in and discovered it and he was threatening to keep good deal of that treasure—that treasure that he discovered. And there was quite a scandal about it and—and Sadler, as you remember, had a fuss with Jake Johnson who was a house member and Jake just went over and took the television cameras with him and accosted him in his office. And—and—and Sadler choked Jake Johnson on camera, on film. And really—the press just played it up wonder—very highly. And so we got it out of the house then in that special session. Jake—Sadler couldn’t have picked a worse time to do that to Jake. We got it out of the house and Connally signed it and it went into—went into effect. And it is—it is known as one of the strongest bills in the country. It’s—it’s really good legislation. And the—and the start commission has done well in—in enforcing it and it’s been a big tool in their arsenal over there. So we take great pride—I take great pride in that—in that particular measure. The others we passed were not…
DT: Did you also help get the state archeological…
18:21 – 2015
DK: Yes, yes. The State Archeologists used to be with the General Services Administration and they—they could have cared less about it and it was kind of a two or three man operation over there and they were doing—using them mostly to do archeology on building sites for the state and also some with the highway department. And back in those days, the highway department wasn’t doing the kind of archeology that they—they should have been. And we—so we made a full scale press on trying to up the authority of the—of the State Archeologists. So I moved them over to—got the state to move him—the legislature to go along with me and we put him over with the Historical Commission, as a branch of it. And it just took off from there and it has gone—done very well. And they administer that Antiquity’s Code too. And we’ve had a very, very good historical commission over the years. Truitt Latimer was the head of it for many years. He was an activist. He’d been a member of the—of the state legislature and he just did a wonderful job. He was one of the best heads of that kind of department in the country. And he got a lot of funding for it. He created the chapters of Historic Preservationists in every county in the State of Texas and had a lot of grass roots support for historical preservation.
DT: Can you tell about some of the particular buildings or Indian sites that you got protected?
20:00 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah, there’s one that’s in—that’s a—that’s a park Seminole Canyon which is a wonderful cave site off the Pecos River down where the Pecos and the Rio Grande come together. It’s a wonderful little park and there are some great cave shelters down there with wonderful Indian pictographs. One of them is Panther Canyon where they have this huge—Indians had painted this huge panther with a great tail on him and it’s—it’s really a interesting site. And that—that site was picked up in—I think that some of this Fund 31 money eventually was used to help—to help build that park later on. It’s a great—it’s a great little park and then—then, of course, there were other—other sites around the state that—that they’ve done a lot of work with. One of the things that got my attention, as far as historic preservation, was the frontier forts that we have in Texas. And it’s unusual—not many states have that sort of thing. We had Fort McKavett and Fort Lancaster and all of these—this chain of forts that they built up to protect the—the populous from the Indians and tent gallery and all those people were out there. San Angelo, Fort Concho there in San Angelo. Fort Quitman, up—up between El Paso and the Davis—and the Quitman Mountains. So there were a whole series of them. One up at Jacksboro, Texas. And—and when the—Dorsey Hardeman passed that bill to set those forts aside but he never would fund it. He was so conservative he wanted to set them aside but he—and we could—and we finally got the money when we passed our—our fund 31 money.
DT: Let’s talk about the fund you set up for conservation.
21:46 – 2015
DK: I got interested in—in—in the park system. There’s a professor at Texas Tech—trying to think of his name now—the school got a—the department’s named after him out there now. But he—he—he got with Connally and he did a little—little, very fine little booklet on—on historic preservation and the need for parks—historic parks and that sort of thing. And they published that back—just as Connally was coming into office and—and I picked up on that and really thought it was something that needed to be done. And it was a great inspiration for me. And so I decided that one of the problems we had in Texas was that money for parks and natural areas was hard to come by. It was always the first thing out of a budget and the last thing in. And it—to have a—a really viable park system, you have to have continuity and you have to know where your money is and you have to plan, do a lot of planning and you have to plan along population growth and exp—explosion. And the Land and Water Conservation Fund which was started under the Eisenhower administration and in which Price Daniel, when he was in the senate, had a hand in, from Texas. Because he passed the outer continental shelf rules and regs for the development of oil and gas out there and they dedicated that royalty money from—from the oil and gas in the outer continental shelf, a good part of it was dedicated to the Land and Water Conservation Fund that was to be used for parks and was to be used for water development of water resources and that sort of thing. And nobody knew then how much money that was going to be brought in on the intercontinental shelf and it ended up—now it’s bringing in a heck of a lot of money. And that money was dedicated. Well I got the idea of a dedicated fund from that. That we ought to have a state fund that was—that we could match the funds that were available at the federal level. And so I came with this idea of a—of a—of a fund set up for that purpose. And I was lucky enough that—that about the time I proposed that idea, we had a big tax session and—and nobody wanted to run with the tax bill and—and Ben Barnes was the Lieutenant Governor at the time and Bill Moore, who was a senior senator over there, who had run with tax bills in the past was coming up for reelection and he didn’t want to run with it again. And so they came to me and asked me if I would run with it and I said, you bet I will. It gave me—it just opened the door for me. And I said, under one set of circumstances. He said, what’s that? And I said, I would like to be able to put in a provision in there where we can dedicate—develop a dedicated fund and—and put the money into it from a cigarette tax or beer tax or a tax on something but put that money in there and—and let that go for nothing but be dedicated to the development of historic sites and—and—and parks and open—natural areas and they agreed to that. And so that’s how fund 31 got started. And we set aside a penny back on cigarettes for the state money. Later, about six years later, after I left the senate, Schwartz came along and worked—and I came up and testified for it, to raise another penny to put on parks for local—local areas—the cities and the—and the counties and that sort of thing. So we got an additional penny put on back then. And I’ve had some fun—some figures run the other day, we have raised a half a billion dollars from that dedicated fund, up until this point. And it’s—it’s been used to—to rebuild parks, to buy historic sites, to buy park sites, to buy wilderness areas and it’s—it’s been a—it’s really—really—really moved us along. And…
DT: I think it’s interesting that the fund supports both historic conservation and natural resource conservation. Can you explain why you linked those two?
26:26 – 2015
DK: Yeah, I—I’ve always felt that—that—that the historic preservationists and the natural preservationists had a lot in common. And that they—they—they ought to join forces. And politically they could exert a lot more pressure if they did so. The historic people, I told you a while ago, that Truitt Latimer is head of the Historic Commission over here had created a—a—in every county in the state, a Historic Commission of leading citizens who were trying to save old properties in each of these counties and that sort of thing. And I felt that if we could wed them together, it would protect the fund. And—and I think it’s had that effect because you can—you get those little old ladies in those Historic Commissions together and—and pound on some desks down here about not taking that fund away from them. And…
DT: Can you talk about some of the attempted raids on the fund?
27:26 – 2015
DK: I don’t remember when there—well, Bullock was never very strong for dedicated fund and—and actually Governor Hobby wasn’t either. Barnes was. I convinced Barnes back there that—and, of course, Hobby came in after Barnes. They both were purists in that they didn’t believe in dedicated funds. They thought the legislature ought to write the budget and they ought to every year write the whole thing. But you need continuity when
27:55 – 2015
DK: you have to do your planning. On education—one of the great things in Texas is the fact that we’ve had these federal school—these—these–these school funds that come off the dedicated lands that were set aside for—for education. And now we add to that. But that’s a godsend. Those—those foundations’ money is really, really there. Well, I wanted the same thing for parks and historic sites. Because you—we just—the system wasn’t working. We—we ranked probably the last in the—in the country at that point as far as parks were concerned. And I wanted to see us bring it up. We were a growing state and we had wonderful areas here that ought to be in—the public ought to be able to enjoy. And so that—that was the theory behind it. And—and my idea was to pull the—the historic conservationists in with the natural area conservationists and you’d have a stronger base there of support to—to keep what you got—what—what we were able to write in there. And it’s pretty well worked that way so far. But, there have been—there were—I had to go talk to Bullock on several occasions and he—he thought that money ought to be used for cancer research or something like that. But I did a lot of things after I left the senate that—that I thought would help the movement. I would try to get together, and this was Griffin Smith’s idea—we would find some event, for example, and then we would get together, try to get the Lieutenant Governor and the speaker and some of the key members of the senate or the house and—and together and—and go out and—and—and celebrate an occasion. The first one we did was in Victorio Canyon which is one of these studies that we did. It’s a beau—it’s one of the biggest canyons in the state and you—nobody knows—people know very little about it. It’s on the Macadoo Ranch out north of Van Horn. And it’s—it’s—if you drove from Van Horn up to
30:06 – 2015
DK: Guadalupe Peak, it’s off on the left. You can see the Sierra Diablo through there—the mountains—and it sits back in there and you can bare—you wouldn’t notice it just if you didn’t know it was there. But if you get up on top of it and look down, it’s the most spectacular canyon I’ve ever seen. I mean, at sunset, the colors in there are just unbelievable. It’s rugged and it’s beautiful. And so we—we picked that out as one of our natural areas. But the last Indian battle in Texas was fought in Victorio canyon and Baylor’s rangers were on the—on the—on the trail of some of the stragglers from Victorio’s Apaches. And Victorio had been wiped out down in Mexico but he still had a remnant of those people who were—who were not there when the Mexican cavalry jumped them. And they had killed five buffalo soldiers at Indian Hot Springs on the Rio Grande River and—and Baylor and the tent cavalry were trying to run the rest of them down. The tent cavalry couldn’t catch them. And Baylor tracked them down and found them and he and the rangers swept up on them and on that morning they—they—they attacked them and killed most of them. Captured two or three squaws and a couple children but all the—all the males were killed. And that was the last Indian battle in Texas. So we decided we’d get this group together and we’d go out there and we would camp out and we would be there exactly one hundred years from the day it happened. And—and we all went out there, Bob Armstrong, land commissioner, Lieutenant Governor, Hobby, the—the speaker. We had—we just had—a good little group of folks that went out there and did it. And then later on we did one, the southern tier of the—of the Continental Railroad, they—they joined on the Pecos just across—east of the Pecos River at a site and drove a spike there and one hundred years from the day that happened,
32:24 – 2015
DK: we all went down there and camped out on the site and had a ceremony the next morning and read the speeches that had been given at this thing and everybody had a big time. Drank a lot of whisky and sat around the night before and had a good time. And it was my way of getting these people out and reminding them of these things that are important in the history of the state and—and—and they’re in very interesting natural areas for the most part. So we did a whole series. We went to—to Matagorda Island and were there three hundred years from the day that LaSalle had his shipwreck there on Matagorda Island. And—and—and so this was a way to—we went to—I took them all out to the Davis Mountains when Halley’s comet came and we—we camped out, made a base camp at the foot of Mount Livermore and watched Halley’s comet from way up there and then the next morning, climbed to the top of Mount Livermore. And so you get these guys out and they—they—they begin to realize that there’s a lot that needs to be saved in this state and it’s a good—good way to do it.
DT: What sort of impression did it make on them?
33:38 – 2015
DK: Well, I think they loved it. Couldn’t wait for the next one. And—and it really—it—they get busy and they—and then they get, you know, they don’t—they get so involved in other things that they—they miss an awful lot. But if you can get them out there, they begin to sense the reality that these—these are beautiful places and they need to be set aside and—and for posterity. That’s been a lot—it’s a fun thing to do, number one and—but it—it does have its effect. And…
DT: How did you cajole these people into joining you and to go out to these remote areas?
34:21 – 2015
DK: Well, I just knew most of them at that time and—and—and they knew—knew—knew me and—and we just—just got them to go and they—once they got into it, it was a fun thing to do. They all enjoyed it. So it—it—it worked out fine. We haven’t done one in quite a while now but—but we—we did a lot of them there for a while.
DT: Can you talk about other efforts to get more money into conservation? I understand that you helped get the conservation fund established.
34:59 – 2015
DK: Yeah, that’s one of the things we did in a study at the LBJ School. We—we thought that—that there ought to be a—a state agency that—that could accept property from people who wanted to—to—to fund, you know, help—help the state, leave a legacy to the state and that sort of thing. And so we—we set up a—we did a study at the LBJ School and the recommendation that they set—set up a (?) and they did and it worked pretty good for several years. And it—but…
DT: Did you remember some tracts of land that came in?
35:37 – 2015
DK: Oh, [John] Hamilton would have to tell you but they did bring some land into it over a period…
DT: From private individuals?
35:45 – 2015
DK: Yeah. For the most part. Yeah. There was some—there was some land that was brought in to San Jacinto Park down there that one of the major oil companies had at San Jacinto, next to it, and I think they—they gave it to the foundation, to—to the system. There were several others that—that John worked on and got and it worked out pretty well.
DT: Let’s talk about the natural area survey?
36:22 – 2015
DK: Well, when I left the senate by popular demand, John Grenowski was just coming on board at the University at Texas out of the LBJ School and—and Grenowski invited me to—to come out there. He did not know Texas politics all that well and—and—and he—he wanted somebody who could—could help him. And so I went out and I was in sort of the research arm of the school to begin with. And I got a grant from Exxon to do the natural area surveys and put together a team of graduate students every summer. We—first thing we did was call in a bunch of the conservationists and—and try to establish a
37:08 – 2015
DK: list of known places that probably we should do a detailed inventory of what was there. The history of the area, the plants, the animals, all of that. The geology of the area, what makes it—what makes it unique, what makes it a unique natural area. What justifies the—putting it into a preserve. And we recruited students from all the different colleges around. We got them from Sul Ross, we got them from the University of Texas, El Paso. We got them where—where we were doing the studies. Then their professors, in turn, worked with them and these were people working on Ph.D.’s for the most part and working with their professors and they—they looked over their shoulders and gave them hints and (?) because they knew the country and knew a lot of the plants and critters and that sort of thing. So they—they were very cooperative. They thought it was a good idea. And we started out the first year and did four studies, I think. We did a lot in the Davis Mountains. We did the Quitmans. We did, I’m trying to think, the Franklin Mountains. And—and we did—got started on, yeah, the Davis Mountains, Mount Livermore and that area. And incidentally that—that—that big ranch out there is now a good part of the Davis Mountains. Davis Mountains, to me, is the jewel of Texas. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in Texas and the—the Macadoo—not the Macadoo Ranch, the McIver Ranch was one of the big ranches out there and Mrs. McIver passed away here not—just a year—couple of years ago and finally the McIvers have—have put it in as a nature conservancy went in and bought a good part of it from—from them. And Ms.—Ms. McIver—she was not going to—she was not going to let it go while she was alive. And—and she was a wonderful old lady and—but a lot—a good part of that area has been picked up now by the nature conservancy. And Sawtooth Mountain area was
39:30 – 2015
DK: picked up—I got a friend of mine in Fort Worth, Miranda Leonard, who was one of the Leonard Department store heirs. Wonderful, wonderful gal and very interested in this sort of thing and she—she bought the Sawtooth Mountain area, about 10,000 acres in there and set it aside and holding it and just—just holding onto it. And to keep it from being subdivided and that sort of thing. And then the Nature Conservancy went in and bought the rest of the balance of the McIver Ranch out there. And it’s a—it’s—it’s—it’s a wonderful place. So that’s—that’s been pri—still in—it’s not in private ownership except for Miranda and she’ll—I don’t know what she’ll do. She may give it to the state before it’s over with. I’m not sure. The—so then we got—we did those studies out there and they went over quite well and more and more people have—have—acquiesced to let us on their property and—and do that sort of thing. The—the—we did the Hueco Mountains. We did—just trying to think of some of the areas we…
DT: Most of these tracts were in the western half of…
40:56 – 2015
DK: We started out in the western half because it was areas that had been overlooked and we thought that we ought to get in there early while we could, if we could. And so we did as much as we could there. We did the Devil’s River the next year and we did the Devil’s Sinkhole. All—those are in—been picked up by the Parks and Wildlife Department now. We did, I don’t know, we’ve got a whole list of them here. But there were about 19 of these projects that we—we worked on that have been picked up either by the federal government or by the Parks and Wildlife. And, in some instances, by the counties. The—the—the Franklin Mountains have been bought up now in the State Park. The—well they’re just one after another.
DT: I understand that most of the natural area surveys were based on interim committee studies while you were in the legislature…
42:10 – 2015
DK: No, they were done by the LBJ School. The natural area surveys were. Yeah, they were done by the LBJ School when I was out there—I was out there and then I pulled John Hamilton in with me as I was getting ready to leave and John Hamilton took over and finished up on some of the work we’d been—we’d already started.
DT: Maybe you can explain how the inner committee’s reports were because I understood they were a real source for conservation…
42:42 – 2015
DK: I think the—I think the interim senate committees reports—I think they called a lot of attention to the need for this sort of thing. And, of course, they brought about the fund 31 which was the big—the big turning point where the Parks and Wildlife could actually go in and start making some of these acquisitions. And that was the key there. We did run with a lot of other legislation. Some of it was passed and some of it wasn’t.
DT: How did you set up these interim committees and what mission you gave them and why?
43:25 – 2015
DK: The—what I was trying to do was to put as much attention on the need for—for environmental awareness as I could. And there were a lot of things that I thought the state could be doing that they hadn’t been doing in the past and that we—we needed to focus attention on it. And one way to do it would be to come back with recommendations to pass legislation in certain areas and get the bills introduced and then—then get as much publicity as you possibly could on it which would help educate a lot of people. Not only in the legislative process but people across the state. And so we ran with things like the outlawing of DDT. We—we ran with any number of different measures along those lines.
DT: Tell me about the efforts to prohibit DDT.
44:19 – 2015
DK: Well, well it was pretty tough because the federal government hadn’t even outlawed it at that point. And they were talking about it but Rachel Carson’s book had just come out and—and—and it was a great inspiration to me and I thought we ought to shake the bushes a little bit. So we—we introduced the bill and, boy I’m telling you, they—the ranchers in this state and the farmers in this state came unglued. And they were—they were really raising hell about it. But we had some pretty good hearings on it. We didn’t pass it but we had some pretty good hearings on it and it certainly focused a lot of attention on it. And I think in some ways, it probably helped the feds, you know, just added another arrow to what was going on and we finally—finally got it done at the federal level.
DT: Can you tell about some of those hearings?
45:14 – 2015
DK: Got a little testy with those. Well those—those got pretty testy. I—the—Fort Worth had a radio station called WBAP, and it was one of the first radio stations, the early radio stations in Texas. Mr. Carter, Amon Carter, who was the publisher of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, had the Star Telegram and had the—the radio station and when the radio station came on in the morning, they’d ring a cow—they had a cow bell. I don’t know whether any of y’all ever heard it or not, and then they would have the—the farm and ranch report. That’s the first thing that would happen in the morning and they started giving me hell from the minute I introduced that bill. They just thought these farmers and ranchers needed that DDT to—to make a profit. And it was hard for them to believe that DDT had the devastating effect that it did on—on—on—on birds and critters. And—and so—but they—they—they were on me—on my tail daily on—on that morning program. And I used to get a big chuckle out of that and consequently, I got a lot of mail on it too. And we didn’t—we didn’t—we didn’t fair too well. We didn’t pass the bill, of course, but we had—we had good hearings and I think we educated a lot of people to the—to the problem that existed. That’s part of the process, you know. You can use that down here to—to really bring—bring people along, to kind of bring them some information that they might not have. So…
DT: You used the hearings as a kind of education?
46:48 – 2015
DK: Right, right. Right, and the speeches given on the senate floor. And the newspaper coverage you get out of it. It—it—it is a slow process. Normally speaking, if you come with anything that is a new idea, it takes six to eight years to pass it in the—in the legislative process. That’s either in congress or down here. It works slowly. People are very cautious and they—they just—you just have to—have to build.
DT: How did you come up with that rule of thumb, six to eight years?
47:23 – 2015
DK: Well that’s a pretty well established rule as far as government—study of government is concerned. It just—if you go back and check all of the legislation that’s passed, especially if it’s a new concept, sometimes it takes longer than that. And sometimes you can get one—something passed the first time. But it’s very seldom.
DT: Tell about your relationship with your constituency back in Fort Worth? Did you ever feel like you were being a leader rather than trying to follow their opinion polls?
47:58 – 2015
DK: Yeah, yeah. I—the people of Tarrant County and Fort Worth, at that time, were—were pretty good people. I mean, and still are but—but they were pretty broad minded. They—they—had a lot of them that were narrow minded but—but for the—overall if they thought you were honest and you—in your belief, you—they—they’d ride with you. They’d listen to you. They weren’t bitter enders. Pretty—pretty good—pretty good people. And I was more liberal than my—than my constituency was for the twenty years I was there but I—I—I got a lot of things done from—for my district and–in other areas to, you know, and—in education and so—and so I had a pretty good—I had pretty good support. Never had overwhelming success as far as winning big landslide elections. Well I—I—I was there twenty years.
DT: Did you ever have a challenger who went against you in a primary?
49:07 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah. I never had a—I never had a pass. I never got by without an opponent.
DT: Did they ever challenge you on the environmental…
DK: Oh sure.
DT: Well what would that be like?
49:20 – 2015
DK: Well you just get up and tell them what you think and they’re—they’re—they’re—people—Tarrant County is a very—was, at that point, a very interesting constituency. They were—they were—if you were—if you were honest and they thought you were trying to do the right thing, they’d go along with you, even if they disagreed with you. So it was—it was kind of an interesting community to represent.
DW: What were some of the anti-environmental slurs?
50:00 – 2015
DK: Oh no, it’s economics of the situation. It’s, you know, putting farmer out of business and the freedom to, you know, run your business like you want to and that sort of thing. That’s—that’s the basic issue involved and they—and they—I know—Dorsey Hardeman used to tell me said, Kennard, they’re going to be hunting you with dogs before this century’s over with, you run with all that crazy legislation.
DT: Were there any bills you feel you just couldn’t bring to the floor?
50:36 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah. Yeah, you know, I knew that a lot of those pesticide bills were not going to come down. It was just a matter of—of—of people didn’t understand. You just—it’s going to be a matter of education, it just—we were early in the game. And—and the sooner you got that behind you, the bet—you know, eventually it would get done. And so that’s—that’s part of leadership, part of trying to make a better world.
DT: You had mentioned that Rachel Carson was somebody who taught you. How did she persuade you that this was a problem?
51:18 – 2015
DK: Well, just the facts and figures that she came with. I thought it was, you know, self evident. And a lot of people didn’t believe her at first and thought it was a radical sort of thing. But I—I did. And people finally came around to it. It was kind of an interesting—it just—sometimes it just takes a while to—to just keep pushing. Just steadily move on with it and it eventually comes—comes to bear.
DT: Could you talk about some of the other bills that you introduced?
52:04 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah, we—we—the—the—we—we licensed falconers and—and—and they—they’re very interesting people and they’re very—pretty damn good conservationists and they’re pretty good about working with wounded animals too. They do an awful lot of work along those lines. So they came down and we—we got them licensed and—and—and—and it worked out pretty good. And I—I never will forget the day I introduced the bill, they—they came down and they had a falcon with them and I walked in on the floor of the Senate with a falcon on my arm. And I got—you—when you introduce a bill, the—
52:57 – 2015
DK: the—you call the page and the page, you give it to him and he takes it up to the—to the—to the front where it’s read. The first reading of it. And so I had the kid come along and I got him to put the bird on his—on his arm and carry it up with him to put the bill in. And, of course, the—the press had a field day out of it. They—they—they had a lot of fun with it and took a lot of pictures of the kid bringing the—the falcon and the bill up to be introduced. Those were all little gimmicks that you can use to get publicity for things like that.
DT: How did you work with the media over the years to try to promote your ideas?
53:39 – 2015
DK: Well, generally speaking, the media—I found, was more—was better informed than a lot of members of the legislature and they—they were very sympathetic, I think, to the environmental movement and understood the need for a lot of this legislation. And so they were not difficult to work with at all. They, of course, they’d report what the other members of the legislature had to say about it, which was plenty, but they themselves, I think, were very sympathetic to strengthen the environmental movement. And so they were—they were prone to pick up on this stuff.
DT: Did you work closely with outdoor writers?
54:27 – 2015
DK: No. Not at all. If I—outdoor writers just didn’t—weren’t as—as progressive as the rest of the press was when it came to a lot of this stuff. It was amazing.
DT: You mentioned that some of these writers also told the story from the other point-of-view, could you tell what sort of response you got when you put up these environmental bills from some of the other senators?
55:02 – 2015
DK: Oh they were—they were—they would hee haw. Some of them would hee haw it pretty good. You’d be surprised though that a lot of them—a lot of them really thought you were right but didn’t feel like their constituency was well informed enough to go along at that point. And so it—it was a—you had some quiet support there that—that—that they didn’t feel like they could vote with you and get away with it. If they had a big rural constituency, particularly. Farmers are pretty—come on pretty slow. They—they’ve come a long way since this first started but, at first, they just didn’t want anybody monkeying in their business and that’s understandable. But they just—you just have to be patient and keep plugging and trying to bring as much truth to them as you can.
DT: Can you tell about some of the allies and opponents you had in the senate?
56:04 – 2015
DK: Well yeah, we had—well—well, you know, Bates, for instance, was strong for us on this. And we had a—a—a fairly good contingent in the—in the senate, at that point, of younger people who had come in. It was the—usually the older guys who—who had been around a long time and were not—were not too environmentally inclined. Younger people, generally speaking, could see the—see what you were trying to do. And a lot of times, use the old saying, you know, a couple of good funerals go a long way in helping with some of this stuff.
DT: I think there are some other bills that you helped to introduce and push along, the Endangered Species Act, can you tell how that came about?
56:58 – 2015
DK: Well, no just—it was just that—that part of the environmental movement, at that point, was shedding a lot of light on it and there were some endangered species in Texas that needed to be—needed to be protected. And I know one was the Texas tortoise, of all damn things. And I passed—passed a special bill on the Texas tortoise. And that came about—I had a great friend in Fort Worth named Lawrence Curtis who was the curator of the Fort Worth zoo. And he was a really bright guy and I did a lot of camping with him. He went on a lot of these river floats with us. And he—he—he ran a really fine zoo up there. And he had discovered that—that the Texas tortoise which is a large tortoise that you find in the south Texas, that—that—that a lot of people were going around and buying those things, collecting them, getting kids to go out and pick them up and—and selling them. And taking them out of state and they were killing them and using them for, I don’t know, whatever, and selling them for pets. And—and that—that these—he thought were going to quickly be on the endangered list if they weren’t already there. So we picked up on it and introduced a bill and passed it. And, sure enough, a lot of that stuff was happening and—and within a very short period of time, Parks and Wildlife somehow stopped a truck that was going from here to California, from South Texas and the thing was full of live Texas tortoise’s and they were—they were getting ready to take them out and sell them as pets or put them in pet shops or, I don’t know, they were using the—the shell for different things and like that. So we—we—we saved the Texas tortoise. And…
DT: Was it a hot topic back then?
59:08 – 2015
DK: Oh yeah. Yeah, it was a hot issue back then too. Yeah. Particularly on the part of developers. They were very concerned about it because it could, you know, it could hold them up and it could put a stop to the development of a piece of property if you found a endangered species on it. And so the—a lot of the—a lot of the home builders and developers and contractors and people like that were—were against it. And a lot of the—a lot of the agricultural people. Farm Bureau has always been very regressive outfit. The Farm Bureau is against everything that I—that I ever heard of. And—and it—and they used to generate an awful lot of support too.
DT: Can you tell us about the interplay between you and the Farm Bureau over the years?
59:58 – 2015
DK: Well I never did have much of a direct relationship with the Farm Bureau but—but I—but they—I could—used to get a lot of mail from them and they—they have a certain number of farmers in rural—rural areas of my district that were—were pretty active in—and outspoken about things, but not too many. And I never paid that much attention to them.
DT: Lets talk about the acquisition of certain land for park land in the state.
01:23 – 2016
DK: Okay. There’s some kind of interesting stories behind some of it. Matagorda is one of them. Matagorda Island was a bombing range at one time. And the and it was closed down and almost deserted. And then when the Korean War broke out, I think it was rejuvenated a little bit and then it closed down again and put a skeleton crew out there. Then when Vietnam came along, it—it—it gained popularity because a lot of the officers were flying back over here and going out there for a week or two to—to kind of relax and fish and do all that sort of thing. It was really kind of funny. And I got an invitation to go out, Charley Herring, here in town was in the senate and Bob Armstrong’s dad was on the City Council. And the—the commanding officer out at Bergstrom at the time invited us to go down to Matagorda Island and so we went down there and it was really neat. And they had a skeleton crew down there and they—they—it was just a recreational facility is what it was. And so I decided when I got out to University that we ought to—that Matagorda ought to be studied because the Air Force was going to probably try to keep it for that for a long time and if we didn’t get it, then if they ever let it go, no telling who would get it. And they’d probably try to develop it and we ought to just try and bring—bring this thing to a head. So I raised a little hell about it and said—called them and said it was just a country club for the officers in the damn army to go to and that it ought to belong to—be open to the public and that it ought to be—in the public (?) good—good parks. It’s a wonderful barrier island. And there ought not to be a causeway built across to it. It ought to be out there and if you—if you want to go out there, you can go across on a boat or you can get there the best way you can. And actually Parks and Wildlife now does have a boat that goes back and forth across there. But—so it was kind of a hot item with the Air Force. They weren’t too happy with some of my statements. Well, we had had a Air Force One pilot under Johnson who was a General Cook or Crook, I think his name was, and he—he came down and Pierce Johnson and them got him made Executive Director of Parks and Wildlife. And—and—and—I raised a little hell about that. I said I—what the hell does he know about it? I went out and met him and I found out that he did—this was an area that he was very interested in and that he might probably be a pretty good administrator. So he went on and became the Executive Direct out there. And did a pretty good job while he was there. And so I wanted to get out my field team on—on—it was one of the studies we wanted to make so I called him and he—he had been Johnson’s pilot on Air Force One and he knew the guy in the White House under Nixon who was pretty good on this thing. And he called up there and—and got the word sent out—they wouldn’t let us on the island and boy when they got directive out of the White House to put us on. I’m telling you, they opened the gate when they got—it was that. And the crew down there was the (?). They were just tickled to death because they didn’t have much to do down there and
05:29- 2016
DK: we had a couple of good looking gals on our team too that were botanists and that sort of thing. And they just went out of their way to make us—make us comfortable when we got out. We spent about three weeks down there on that island going over it from top to bottom. And so it worked out real good. And we finally got it—brought enough attention on it, they—they decided to open it up as surplus property and—and the state and the feds got in on it. And now it is jointly operated by the federal government and the state. And it’s a—it’s a marvelous park. And one—when we took—took it in, when the state took it in, I wanted them to be damn sure that they—they didn’t—that they had a prevention written into the clause that there would never be a causeway built across to it to connect it to the mainland. And sure enough, it—that provision was put in there.
DT: What was your fear about if they…
06:39 – 2016
DK: Well if they did, it would—it would—well, first of all, it would do a lot of damage to the island and it—before it was over with, you’d have people wanting to develop it and to try to get it out of the park system and to build, you know, build things on the damn thing. And I felt like it ought to be kept as a primitive barrier island. And it would make a unique park that way. And so I think we’re going to be able to hold it that way for a long time. And it’s a—it’s a great place—have you ever been down there?
DT: Yes, I have.
07:14 – 2016
DK: It’s just a marvelous place, I think.
DT: At that time, I guess there were cows on the island. Did you have any view about grazing on the island.
07:25 – 2016
DK: Yeah, they–they finally got the cows off of there but—but what—the family that the—that they had bought that property from, Halls family or somebody like that, had—had the right to lease it and—and operate it with the cows on there until the Air Force got out from under the Air Force control. And they—I think they tried to get property back even and they lost out on that. But then when the Air Force left, they got the cows off of there. And that—that island’s got a lot of deer on it. And it’s a—it’s really an interesting place. You know Roosevelt spent a weekend down there back during the depression. He flew down there and that part—the lower end of that island owned by a Dallas family—the—I’m trying to think who it was now. Who was it? Yeah, the Wynns, yeah. Yeah. And he stayed there at their place years ago. And San Jose which is the next island down is a very interesting place and it belongs to the Bass Foundation, Perry Bass and it’s the old Sid Richardson, old Sid Richardson bought that thing. There’s an interesting story behind that. He—Perry was—they were in my district and I knew them. They were supporters of mine and—and Perry got out of Yale in the middle of the depression and—and came back and went to work for his uncle, Sid Richardson. Mr. Sid was never married and didn’t have any—any kids of course. And so the property went to his nephews when he died. And so the first thing he did was put Perry down there. He bought that—he bought—they had gone—been going down there and fishing and hunting and had it leased for fishing and hunting rights from a family that owned it. And it was in the middle of the depression or the first part of the depression and Sid wanted to buy it and—and made him an offer and he didn’t know whether he was going to have the money to pay for it or not. And but he went ahead and made the deal and he brought in some field out there in West Texas that saved his neck and they—they ended up buying it. And he sent Perry Bass down there, just out of college, to build that big house they’ve got on it. And this was right in the middle of the depression and they built one hell of a place down there. It’s concrete and it’s—it’s really there to stand up against the—the weather. And they have in that house, Mr. Richardson’s art collection, a lot of his art collection. And they had—I went down there one time with him and they had a lot of Remington’s and Russell’s and Monet and—just hanging in that place and every time a damn hurricane comes along, they’d have to fly down there and get that stuff up so the—they wouldn’t have water damage to it. Really—really interesting place. But Perry had done a really good job of—he loved that place and because he spent—the old man had him down there for a year or year and a half building this thing and he fell in love with it and he had done an awful lot to bring in the grasses to stabilize the erosion and stuff like that over the years. And it’s quite an interesting place.
DT: Can you tell about park acquisitions on the whole?
11:31 – 2016
DK: Yeah, we—that was one of our studies. And because it’s such an unusual piece of property, we completed that and about the time that Jimmy Carter was elected. And—and I got—we got—Pierce Johnson was out there at Parks and Wildlife at the time and Chuck Parish had been down there and had been Jimmy Carter’s campaign manager and he had been head of his Parks and Wildlife Department when Carter was governor and he came down and—and Bob Armstrong and myself and—and some of us ran the Carter campaign. And Chuck went back up and became Cecil Andrus’ top man. And so we wanted to get—go ahead and buy Enchanted Rock and we had the study already done and it was in the can for the Environmental Impact statement and everything. And when they went in, we called old Chuck and said, we’ve got this thing ready and we’re going to send an application up and we hope you guys will sign off on it and they walked that—literally walked that thing through there and sent the money down in about two days time and we—we bought—Parks and Wildlife bought Enchanted Rock out there.
DT: Can you describe Enchanted Rock?
13:03 – 2016
DK: Yeah, what is it—a monolith—a big glob of—of I guess, of volcanic pressured rock and it’s just—it’s just a marvelous thing. You get up on top of that and you can see forever and it’s—we went out there on the 4th of July when—when we did the Bicentennial—what it was—whatever it was—the big—for—and it rained that morning. We went up on top, we wanted to see Griffin Smith and his bride and my wife and our kids went out there and climbed up to the top of it and wanted to see the sun come up. And we got out there and had a rain storm and we couldn’t see the sun but it finally broke through and that rock just—it was covered with water, you know, and it was just magnificent. The pictures we took out there were just unbelievable. It is quite—it’s quite a unique piece of property. And I think—I think—Ms. Johnson just loved it. She was thrilled to death. She had fallen in love with it when they bought that ranch out there. So she was thrilled to death. She was really pushing to get that thing made a park.
DT: Speaking of Lady Bird Johnson, I believe you carried a bill that was similar to her interest in trying to ban highway junkyard signs and so on. Can you talk about that?
14:51 – 2016
DK: Yeah, it was a little early. It was premature. It—it—we—every junk yard in town came down against it I think and I don’t think we got that thing passed the first time around. But eventually I think there was something done on it. But I always felt like they ought to clean those places up and her billboard program was a good program. She did a lot for this, believe it or not. She really got a lot of things accomplished.
DT: Do you think the argument about aesthetics, how the landscape should look attractive is a convincing argument when you go before the legislature?
15:32 – 2016
DK: Yeah. I think so. I think so. It’s more convincing now than it used to be. But it’s a—but yeah I think it is. You know, the—the highway program has done an awful lot. They—the Congress has really backed them up on the—on the federal highway program and—and—and our—I’ll give the State Highway Department credit for the plantings of flowers and grasses and sort of thing, you know on the right—right-of-ways. And—and it’s—it’s made a lot of difference in this state. And, at first, people thought we were crazy when we started talking about things like that but it is—it’s really made a difference. Made a great difference.
DT: Can you describe when people would say you were crazy?
16:34 – 2016
DK: Yeah, it was a—it never—it never bothered me much. I—I always thought we were sure maybe a little ahead of our time but that it was something that people would understand eventually. And—and it just—you—you just have to be patient and you have to keep plugging. And it’s—it’s come a long way. Come a long, long way and, you know, these old forts that we saved in Texas. I had to laugh at—Dorsey Hardeman is the one who passed the bill to—to set aside—to try to set aside those forts but he never would finance it until we got Fund 131 passed and we went ahead and go those—those forts bought and paid for. And I think that’s one of the great things. Beautiful old buildings and really neat places. Texas is a unique state in lots of ways. And I think—I think they’re beginning to understand its heritage a little bit. The Highway Department has done a really good job
17:35 – 2016
DK: of cleaning up and that sort of thing. That “Don’t Mess With Texas” program was a wonderful program.
DT: Maybe you could tell us about some of the tensions between people who love the outdoors. There’s a bill I think you carried to try to limit hunting in State Parks.
18:03 – 2016
DK: Well I—I think that it ought to be controlled and I think if—if there are times when you—you need to open it up for hunting because you have to watch the population of your—your—your deer and your–your critters. But—but—and there’s times when you need to go in and—and really kind of control it. But offhand, I just—we have a lot of other places that they can hunt in some of these wilderness areas that we—we—we’ve brought about and you can take certain seasons and use it for that, other seasons for other things. And I don’t know how much that’s being used but I—I assume it’s—a lot of the permits are being used now. But the—I think they need to be awful careful about it.
DT: Let’s discuss a bill you passed to kind of slow down the revolving door between government and industry.
19:30 – 2016
DK: Well yeah, I think that, for example, when I left the—when I left the legislature, I did not lobby until maybe six or eight years after I left and I—I did come up here and I would appear on certain things but not for hire. And then later on, I—I did some which I think is okay. But I don’t think that you ought to use your—your relationship there with—once you leave office, for a certain period of time, at any rate and I’ve always felt that. And—and I—more and more people are doing that now I think.
DT: Was there some incident that pushed that into your agenda?
20:18 – 2016
DK: No, not really. Not really. I just think it’s good policy. You just don’t tempt anybody to use this influence like that. But, I—I think there’s been too much of it in the past probably.
DT: You’ve been active in conservation for going on forty years. What do you think the coming challenges will be?
21:10 – 2016
DK: Well I think we’re—I just think we’re going to have to have more of the same. There—with—with—with the growth in population, it’s going to really put some pressures on a lot of places. And—and I think we’re going to have to really, really be careful. And I think the—I think the—I think the enviro—those who are active in the environmental
21:43 – 2016
DK: movement are just going to have to be on guard because the pressures are going to be there. And you’re talking about water. Water’s going to be, in this state, is going to be a—a real factor. Especially out in West Texas. And we’re going to have—we’re just—we’re going to have to really, really control development to some extent. We haven’t—we haven’t really seen it yet but it’s—it’s coming. It’s really coming. It’s going to take the whole west. I know water rights now in New Mexico, you can buy and sell water rights under acreage out there. The water rights at—the price on water rights have gone up from tremendously in the last few years. Five to ten thousand dollars an acre foot.
DT: Do you think that’s coming to Texas?
22:51 – 2016
DK: No. I—I don’t think—I don’t—I can’t foresee us having the same kind of water problems that they—that they’re having as far as water rights are concerned. I think we’re going to have jurisdictional fights that are really going to be horrendous before it’s over with cause people are going to want to try to bring water from one part of the state to the other. And—and then—and you’re going to have to devote—decide on how much of that water’s going to be used for agricultural purposes, how much for industrial purposes and how much for people purposes. It’s going to really be—unless we develop some system to manufacture water somehow. There’s just so much to go around.
DT: Describe a place that you like to go and explain why it’s so special to you.
24:08 – 2016
DK: Well I’ve got a—one of the places is out there in the—in the Quitman Mountains. It’s the old Indian Hot Springs Ranch and I helped put—we did study of the Quitman Mountains and we—we—we stayed there at the—camped out there at the—at the Indian Hot Springs Ranch Headquarters. It’s on the Rio Grande River. And I fell in love with the place. It’s a very special place to me. And it’s got a deep—deep—it’s got about nine springs right there at the headquarters and they’re thermal springs, hot water. Well six of them are hot water and three of them are cold water. And—and the—it’s got a neat old headquarters down there in the flats and there’s a—and it’s a—it’s a—scenically it’s really kind of an interesting desert—desert/mountain place and I—I spend some time out there from time-to-time. I had an interest in it at one time and sold my interest with an option to come back into it and one of these days, I hope I’m going to be able to do that. But—but I still—my former partners are still out there and I—I’ve used—I’ve used that a lot to—to get legislators out there and get Parks and Wildlife and the Historic Commission to come out and—and spend weekends and—and talk about park problems and stuff like that, historic problems. And we—we—we meet with some of the college and university professors from the borderland area. Periodically they come out there and use the place and I go out there and—and so I’ve got use of it and I’ve tried to use that to—to help bring some of these people along and some things. Ann—Ann Richards out there and then speaker and people like that from time-to-time. And—and it’s—it’s—it’s been a great place to go off and get away. Andrew Sampson says it’s one of those places—special place. They’re just—some places are special and that’s one of them. It’s kind of an interesting—interesting way. There were five buffalo soldiers who were killed out there by the—by the Apaches and they’re buried there on the place and we’ve got their little cemetery fixed up and we—we’ve got it put on the National Register of Historic Places and—and—and we’ve made a historic district out of it because it’s adjoined by a bunch of state land that the General Land Office controls. And bunch of Indian sites in there. And it—it—we—we got a—worked with Curtis Tunnel and that bunch over there and had it made into a historic district. First of its kind really in the nation. And that’s—that’s my favorite place to go. It’s a neat place.
DT: If you were talking to legislators, what sort of advice would you give them for what they might be doing over the coming years?
28:03 – 2016
DK: Oh I’m—I’m pretty much out of that business. I sure want to—I sure want to try to help protect the fund and enlarge it, if possible. And I think we’re going to have to do some work on a national level about the Land and Water Conservation Fund too because it’s going to be under raid before long if we’re not careful. And—and it ought to—ought to be—something ought to be done about that. So I—I’ll probably spend more of my time and interest trying to work on that problem than any—any of the others. But I sure think it’s important to—to have these dedicated funds in this area because if you don’t, it—they’ll just—they’ll be the stepchildren and they ought not to be. They ought not to be.
End of reel 2016
End of interview with Don Kennard