Good News from Texas State Parks

With a diverse assortment of activities and locales, Texas State Parks afford a fun experience for almost any traveler or budget.

There are more than 120 state parks in Texas

Camping at Galveston State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texas State Parks are rich in natural beauty and cultural history. Texas has 11 ecoregions with a wide variety of landscapes, from lush forests to rugged canyons and mountains.

Many state parks feature spectacular lakes and rivers where you can go boating, fishing, and swimming or just enjoy a relaxing float. Other parks offer wonderful trails for hiking, biking, birding, and horseback riding.

Texas State Parks also include more than thirty state historic sites, each one revealing a fascinating glimpse back in time. Visit a frontier fort, see prehistoric rock art, or climb aboard the only surviving U.S. battleship to have fought in both world wars. Many sites also offer tours, special events, re-enactments, and living history presentations to bring Texas history alive.

During our RV travels we have visited dozens of state parks in the Great State of Texas and our expectations have always been met or exceeded. As we examine options for our next Snowbird sojourn, Texas is high on our list, in part due to the quality of its state parks.

Goliad State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you stay at a Texas State Park you can depend on friendly, knowledgeable staff and safe surroundings. And with more than 120 state parks in Texas, you can take a day trip from your campsite to explore another state park or state historic site in the area!

$18M Spent Upgrading State Parks

Visitors trekking to dozens of Texas state parks to take advantage of pleasant spring weather will find new restrooms, revamped playgrounds, and campgrounds and a host of other park upgrades resulting from millions of dollars in completed and ongoing capital repair projects begun last year, the San Angelo Standard Times reported.

Through February, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) had spent almost $18 million on a variety of park improvements funded with more than $44 million bond money approved by the state’s electorate several years ago and appropriated by the Texas Legislature in previous sessions.

In addition to fixing up more than 40 state parks, the bonds provide $25 million to dry berth the Battleship Texas, protecting this proud veteran of two wars from the corrosive seawater in the Houston Ship Channel.

In all, statewide, general obligation bonds were sold to fund more than $69 million in repairs and renovations to state park cabins, bathrooms, electrical and water systems, and other state park infrastructure.

A number of capital repair bond projects address the most-cited concern in a recent Texas state park visitor study—aging and deteriorating bathrooms in state park campgrounds and cabins, according to TPWD Infrastructure Division deputy director Scott Stover, who is overseeing the massive state park capital repair program.

Other projects are helping bring state park facilities into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

At Brazos Bend State Park, for example, work crews are installing new plumbing fixtures in the park’s 30-year-old restrooms and making them ADA compliant as part of a $419,000 bond project.

Garner State Park

Cypress trees at Garner State Park. Photo courtesy TPWD

More than $3 million in bond-funded repairs at Garner State Park is giving a long-awaited face-lift to many of the overnight camping leader’s bathrooms, 17 historical cabins, screen shelters, and other infrastructure. Complete remodeling is being done on 22 shelters, with 11 fitted to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, including ADA-accessible walkways.

“The cabins are in full swing with all having been reroofed, rotted, and damaged wood is being replaced and contractors are scheduled to start with electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work in April,” says park superintendent Rick Meyers. “We are looking at reopening cabins in May 2012.”

Thus far, he notes, construction crews have completed repairs to the Live Oak Campground’s electrical and water system and installed a new water system in Pecan Grove. At Rock Beach, Restroom No. 10 has been demolished and will be replaced by a new facility with dressing rooms and ADA accessibility. Construction should be complete by early summer.

To be continued…

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…
No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.

—Elmer Kelto

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