One of Texas’ oldest state parks, closed for almost a year for $5 million in capital improvements, has been born anew and will host a free grand reopening on Saturday, October 15.
Carved out of the pine and hardwood forests of northeast Texas in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Daingerfield State Park shut down on July 5, 2010 and re-opened to the public June 24, 2011.
According to a state park news release, Daingerfield is pulling out all the stops on October 15 with a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, a host of exhibits, interpretive programming, and refreshments. The $3 entry fee is being waived for the day.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., park visitors will be able to participate in a host of special activities and peruse the Operation Game Thief and Latino Legacy exhibits while listening to live music. There will be park staff-led canoe tours, nature hikes and geocaching, and inflatable “jumpy place” for kids.
Visitors to the 506-acre park will discover three new restrooms, upgraded campgrounds that include full hookup sites, a new wastewater system, a new dock with boat rentals and refurbished boathouse/interpretive center, a new State Park Store, and major renovations to a number of CCC buildings, such as the popular group facility. Historic Bass Lodge, which sleeps 13 in five bedrooms, has had a total makeover inside and out, with new central air and heat, new furnishings and appliances, and a remodeled bathroom that meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
“The neat thing about the renovations is that this is an opportunity for us to take the CCC structures, renovate them, and have an improved facility,” park superintendent John Thomas said. “This is putting them back into the original condition it was built for and designed back in the 1930s. The roofs on the buildings are made from wooden cedar shake, like the ones in 1938.”
Down by the 80-acre lake, park visitors will see how construction crews have converted the large pavilion/bath house that once served as a concession area into an air-conditioned and heated park store and group dining hall with upgraded kitchen facilities for day use.
“When people who haven’t been here in a while, come back to visit, they’ll notice some real major changes,” says Thomas. “There will be a ‘wow effect” for sure. Having this park open again is a big deal for this part of Texas.”
With the steady drought this summer, the lake recreation has not ceased.
“The lake is 5.5 feet low,” Thomas said. “The lake is good, and has held its own well; it is very clear. Even with the water level down, people still launch boats and fish and continue other recreation on the lake.”
Thomas expects the coming fall months to be as busy as ever, as customers welcome cooler weather conducive to camping, hiking and fishing, and relaxing.
Although northeast Texas is known for pines, each fall the park is a delight as sweetgum, oak, and maple trees produce dazzling shades of red and gold, offering a stark contrast to those famous evergreens.
Campers can choose from 40 campsites with full hookups, water and electricity, and 12 water-only tent sites, ranging from $10 to $20 a night. Persons seeking more creature comforts, can book one of three climate-controlled cabins, featuring either two or three bedrooms, a bath room, fully-equipped kitchen, and screened-in front porches.
Daingerfield State Park
Elevation: 402 feet
Camping Facilities: 12 tent sites; 30 RV sites with full hookups (back-in); 10 premium RV sites with full hookups (pull-through)
Day-use fee: $3
Camping fee: $10-20
Phone: (903) 645-2921.
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