In 2023, Texas will celebrate 100 years of state parks. In honor of that milestone, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has unveiled the Texas State Parks Centennial Plan, with several goals to accomplish by 2023, including exciting additions.
"For generations, state parks have brought families together on the land and around the water, helping Texans experience the natural and cultural history of our great state," says Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, in a release.
"This plan projects those values into the 21st century, fulfilling a commitment to elected leaders and parks supporters that we will craft a long-term strategy to use dedicated state dollars for parks thoughtfully, creatively, and efficiently."
The first steps will be improving existing facilities and infrastructure; two-thirds of Texas' state parks are slated for repair in the coming years. Local parks with updates on the way include Bastrop (fire damage repairs), Guadalupe River (new restrooms), Inks Lake (new restrooms and boat ramp repairs), Lockhart (recreation hall updates), McKinney Falls (new restrooms and flood repairs), and Pedernales Falls (new restrooms).
The most exciting part of the plan is the addition of five new state parks: Albert and Bessie Kronkosky near Austin-San Antonio, Palo Pinto Mountains near Dallas-Fort Worth, Davis Hill near Houston, Powderhorn on the coastal bend, and Chinati Mountains in West Texas.
Funding for these projects comes from a bill passed in 2015 that directs 94 percent of the state's sporting goods sales tax revenue to TPWD.
"Ten years ago, the park system was struggling to survive after decades of inadequate resources. Now with reliable, dedicated funding, Texas can have a park system that serves the needs of park visitors and reflects the incredible history and natural diversity of our state," says Brian Trusty, chair of the Texas State Parks Advisory Committee.
The plan also calls for more community engagement. With so many new things on the horizon, it only makes sense to encourage Texans to get outside and explore.