State Parks Getaways – July 2023

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The Best Chance for More State Parks

Chairman Aplin and Governor Abbott, link

Chairman Aplin and Governor Abbott at Ray Roberts Lake State Park

A golden age of state parks may be glimmering on the horizon. This November Texas voters will have the chance to approve a $1 billion fund to create new state parks – the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund.

Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Arch H. “Beaver” Aplin III, says, if approved, TPWD will be allowed to spend fund earnings, estimating they could reach $50 million a year. "It sets the future for us to accomplish our dream of having the best park system in the nation.”

Governor Greg Abbott supports the fund, and says he wants future generations of Texans to have the same opportunity he did – to go fishing, share a picnic with family and enjoy the grandeur and natural wonders of places like Caddo Lake, Palo Duro Canyon and Mustang Island.

“This is the future of the outdoors, the future of parks for Texas,” says Aplin. For more information, see the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story The Future of Our Outdoors. 

Hot Tips for Keeping Your Cool

dog on rock by water, video

Yep it's summer, it's Texas, it's hot. But don't let that stop you from safely enjoying your parks. Keep these tips top of mind to help you keep your cool:

  1. Hydrate – Drink 16 oz. of water every hour.
  2. Stay Salty – Eat salty snacks to replace salt lost to sweating. 
  3. Dress Smart – Wear a wet bandana around your neck, a hat and loose, breathable clothing.
  4. Pup Safety – Offer your dog water, snacks and shade breaks regularly. Be aware of hot trails and rocks – paws can blister. 

Find more hot tips on how to keep your cool in our press release 7 Tips to Stay Safe During the Summer Heat and in our video Heat Safety for Dogs.

Now There’s More of Honey Creek to Love

Honey Creek Ranch, video link

The Honey Creek State Natural Area just became 515 acres larger with the addition of Honey Creek Ranch.

The $25 million purchase was made possible by private donations, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state appropriations for land acquisitions. Honey Creek is considered one of the most pristine streams in Texas, and this purchase will also help protect its watershed.

Map of Honey Creek SNA, watershed and area around it

On this map, brown is the new addition, gray is watershed and dark green is current parkland.

This new property includes a beautiful event venue, and we look forward to opening both to the public – but we don't have an opening date just yet.

Find out more in our press release Partnership Adds 515 Acres to Honey Creek State Natural Area.

How to Sustainably Pack Your Snacks

Woman holds two reusable sandwich bags, video link

Sustainablility Program Specialist Rowan Prothro demonstrates money-saving and sustainable ways to pack snacks for a park visit, and explains how your sustainable choices reduce the use of plastics and waste in parks. See it all in the short video Leave No Trace.

Teach Your Child to Swim, It's the First Defense Against Drowning, with link

Visit Parks to Keep Kids Busy This Summer 

Children creating art at a long table outside

Bring the kids out to swim, bike, walk, paddle, fish or attend an event this summer at your state parks – children 12 and under always get in free.

Every park has kid-focused events, so if you have a park in mind, check its calendar. Or see what's happening near your city.   

Girl points from bridge

 We also have year-round programs for children like Geocache Challenge, Buffalo Soldiers, Arts in the Parks and the popular Junior Ranger program.  

Research shows families who spend time outdoors in nature are healthier, happier and smarter – see you out there!

A message from our non-profit partner Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation:

Don't Miss Art of State Parks Book & Exhibit

State park art image of a heron flying, with link

To commemorate 100 years of Texas State Parks, TPWD tasked 30 Texas artists to paint 65 state parks, natural areas, and historic sites. What materialized is a truly astounding collection, which is captured in the limited-edition book, The Art of Texas State Parks: A Centennial Celebration 1923-2023.

A traveling art exhibit of the same name is now on display through October 1 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, featuring over 30 works by Texas' finest artists.

Buy the book, enjoy the exhibit, or do both! All proceeds will be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to benefit Texas State Parks.

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers:

Texas Outdoor Musical, with link

Visit Clute, with link