David & Marianne Book have been volunteers, supporters & contributors on many levels for Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. His children's books are a popular item at the Nature Store, and his history book on the Refuge was a particularly challenging puzzle to pull together. I look forward to his blog for bits and pieces to be brought to life among other topics regarding the habitat and conservation efforts of Laguna Atascosa.

For Want of a Physical Location

Fri, December 29, 2023 6:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Credits: David & Marianne Book

Did you get all your packages delivered and holiday greetings mailed in time? Did you lose anything to porch pirates? You think you have trouble with mail delivery? Check this out.

In December, 2002, new Refuge manager, John Wallace, checked mileage from the refuge to several rural route mail boxes on nearby Ted Hunt and Buena Vista roads. There needed to be some resolution to a prolonged problem getting personal mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service directly to the refuge. The major problem: the refuge had a post office box seventeen miles away in Rio Hondo but no "physical address." Without a physical address, it is nearly impossible to get anyone to believe that you even exist.

In an interview several years ago, Manager Wallace imagined this scenario: "Help, my husband is having a heart attack, and the house is on fire! What? Where am I? Oh, just drive 14 miles east of Rio Hondo, Texas on Route 106 until you get to Buena Vista Road. Turn north on Buena Vista Road and drive three miles north. Look for the burning house and I will be outside in my blue nightgown waving my arms wildly." To exacerbate the problem, the refuge got its mail at the Rio Hondo Post Office, and it was against USFW regulations to have personal mail coming to the same post office. However, the refuge is located within the rural route zone of the Los Fresnos Post Office. Past contacts with the two postmasters resulting in pointing at the other as the solution to the problem. The Los Fresnos postmaster would not agree to deliver mail to the refuge office because it would extend his route one tenth of a mile from the five mile limit from the last existing mailbox on the route. Regulations are regulations, after all. The matter was resolved when Wallace presented the Los Fresnos postmaster with all documentation required, adding these words. "We families and multiple voters were being treated as second-class citizens and that I would have to contact my elected representatives if they wanted U.S. citizens, U.S. government employees, and voters deprived of mail delivery over one-tenth of a mile." Within two weeks, mail delivery to the refuge began. Sometimes a little threat goes a long way.

Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 
22688 Buena Vista Rd., Los Fresnos, TX 78566

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