A study by the Texas Coalition for Conservation found Texans spend upward of $1 billion every year when they visit the state parks.
For every county with a state park, on average the park generates almost $3 million in annual retail sales and $1.5 million in residential income within that community.
Lake Whitney State Park
Nearly $3 million in improvements is scheduled for 45-year old Lake Whitney State Park. Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, Texas Parks and Wildlife is boosting electrical services in several Lake Whitney camp loops, adding new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant restrooms in the recreation hall, building a brand new restroom in one camping area, adding new sewer lines in another, and upgrading four screen shelters and their amenities to meet ADA standards.
ADA upgrades to the recreation hall and screen shelter area have already been completed.
Most of the electrical work in Big Trailer Park camp loop and several others consist of upgrading 30-amp outlets into the 50-amp pedestals. Lake Whitney State Park has numerous camping areas and four will get 50-amp outlets. Many sites get more than upgraded. Eight current “water only” sites will also get 50-amp electrical pedestals and sewer capability. All the water lines are being replaced in the Big Trailer Park camping loop.
The park is located in the Grand Prairie subregion of the Black land Prairie natural region. It has open disturbed tallgrass prairie remnants with scattered groves of live oak and a small area of post oak/blackjack oak woodland. During spring, over 40 species of wildflowers including bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes cover the landscape. Common animals include white-tailed deer, raccoons, and squirrels with fox, coyote, and bobcat occasionally being spotted.
For swimmers and boaters, the park—only 61 miles south of Fort Worth and 38 miles northwest of Waco—is a doorway to almost all of 23,560-acre Lake Whitney on the Brazos River.
The Lake was formed in 1951 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the river. Most of its camping areas are directly along the shore. In fact, many of the park’s 131 campsite spaces are on small fingers of land jutting into the lake.
Nature lovers will find a wildlife observation blind on the east side of the park and an interpretive trail on the west side.
Lake Whitney is one of the few Texas State Parks boasting a private plane airstrip.
Lake Whitney is located on the Brazos River. Brazos de Dios means “in the arms of God.” Lake Whitney is a large lake with 225 miles of shoreline and 37 square miles of coverage. Lake Whitney is 45 river miles long and is up to four miles wide at the widest point.
Bird watching is another great hobby in the Lake Whitney area. Since Lake Whitney is in the North American Flyway, more than 300 species of birds can be seen at various times during the year. Swallows have made the holes and cracks on the unique rock formations along the lake their home and hundreds of the birds can be seen at one time. Be on the lookout for the American bald eagle. Every year, the bald eagle increases in number around Lake Whitney.
Elevation: 533-574 feet
Entrance fee: $3/person
Camping fees: Campsites with water, $14; campsites with 50-amp electric and water, $20; campsites with 50-amp electric, water, and sewer, $24
Location: 3 miles west of Whitney on FM 1244 on the shore of Lake Whitney
Directions: From I-35, take the Hillsboro exit; in Hillsboro take Highway 22 west to Whitney; then follow the signs to Lake Whitney State Park.
Address: Box 1175, Whitney TX 76692
Contact: (254) 694-3793
Texas Spoken Friendly
I am humbled by the forces of nature that continuously mold our great state of Texas into a beautiful landscape complete with geological diversity, flora and fauna. It is my goal as a photographer to capture that natural beauty and share it with others.
—Chase A. Fountain