From the President –
The calendar says September, so although the temperature outside still feels like summer, I know that cooler days are not too far away. September brings the start of a new accounting year for State Parks, and although the numbers are not all in, it’s clear that 2022 will show once again that Texans love their state parks! About ten million times, from Franklin Mountains in El Paso to Caddo Lake on the Louisiana border, visitors spent their day enjoying nature and learning about our land and history in a state park. Unfortunately, on many days not everyone who wants to explore the outdoors is able to do so, as many parks reach their capacity and must turn visitors away. As we all know, the population of Texas is booming, and our state park system has not been able to keep up with the demand for access to open spaces. As the old saying goes “they’re not making any more land” and it is important for state leadership to ensure additional parks are added to serve the needs of our citizens. Next year will see the opening of the first new state park in more than a decade, as development of Palo Pinto Mountains is set for completion. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the pace of park additions lags well behind that of the growth of our state.
In 2023, the Texas State Park system will celebrate its 100th birthday! That’s quite an accomplishment, and there have been a lot of changes along the way. You can expect to see lots of celebrations across the state and expanded efforts to make sure all Texans are aware of the outdoor jewels that are available to them in their parks. Let’s join with our park staff members to welcome these new users and show them the wonders of nature that can be found just a short distance from home in a state park. Look for more information soon on how you can be a part of the fun!
As the temperatures begin to fall, I hope you will take the time to get out and enjoy your favorite park. Maybe your special place is among the colors of the changing foliage at Daingerfield and Lost Maples, or perhaps you are drawn to the stark landscape of Big Bend Ranch or the dark skies of Davis Mountains – your parks are waiting.
Happy Trails,
Kevin