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LAFFITE'S COVE NATURE SOCIETY - HISTORY

After Mitchell Development Corporation acquired and sought to develop the land that is now Laffite's Cove, it applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1974 to dredge canals that would lead to Galveston West Bay. While the modern environmental movement was still in its early stages, concerned landowners and environmental groups protested Mitchell Development's plans from the beginning. These protests led eventually to a landmark environmental lawsuit, Fritiofson v. Alexander, 772 F.2nd 1225 (5th Cir. 1985). This case had nationwide importance because the District court found that the Corps of Engineers had failed to properly analyze and consider the cumulative environmental impacts of the project under the (then relatively new) National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The 5th Circuit Court of appeals affirmed this finding.

As part of the eventual resolution of this case, Mitchell Development agreed to significant changes and conditions to its plans, designed to protect the unique historical and environmental aspects of the property. A major element of the final plans included setting aside (and subsequently deeding to the City of Galveston), 32 acres referred to as Reserves D and E in order to preserve a significant sample of the original woods, marshes and wetlands and their plant and animal life and to be a public place for the quiet enjoyment of nature. Laffites Cove Nature Society (LCNS), a perpetual nonprofit corporation funded only by owners in Laffite's Cove, was created with three major responsibilities, to protect and maintain all the nature preserves, to maintain the integrity of the canals, and to ensure compliance with the many special and long-term commitments in the developer's final plans that were the basis for the Corps permit that was eventually issued for the project. So, LCNS was born out of compromise brought about by the hard work and dedication of people like Eva Fritiofson (whose grandfather, John Egert had owned the property), Bob Moore (her attorney, who took the case pro bono) and Evangeline Wharton. They and others involved in the effort shared a passionate desire to protect the unique beauty, history, habitat and wildlife present on the property.

The history of the property itself is even more fascinating.

The area dubbed "Mitchell Ridge" by archeologists, is a natural ridge no more than 10ft above sea level at its crest, that was inhabited by the indigenous people who lived seasonally on Galveston Island for hundreds of years. Excavations on the ridge, the relic of an ancient dune line, have revealed a rich archaeological record of their presence and lives. In fact, it is widely believed that Mitchell Ridge is where the Spanish Explorer Cabeza De Vaca, the first European to explore what is now Texas and the Southwestern U.S., lived with the native population after being shipwrecked on Galveston Island in 1528. This area is now part of preserve "E" in Laffite's Cove and is managed by LCNS. For more information concerning the history of this property and the indigenous people who inhabited it, please refer to the following links:

  1. Mitchell Ridge: Camp and Burial Ground on Galveston Island
  2. Ricklis Report
  3. The Lafitte's Cove Nature Preserve - Bob Moore, Attorney at Law
 

LAFITTE'S COVE NATURE SOCIETY - MEETING SCHEDULE

September 12, 2015 - Board of Directors meeting - agenda



LAFITTE'S COVE NATURE SOCIETY - PHOTOS

 
   
 
   
SITE DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT BY WILLTHING