At a time when Texas is booming with construction and traffic, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working to protect the most beautiful parts of the state from development.
Six of those sites, located across the Lone Star State, are dedicated to the public and will open as state parks within the next 12-15 years. TPWD highlighted the six sites in the newest issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, which is now on sale.
“There is a need to provide more recreational opportunities for the growing population of Texas,” Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin said in a news release. “Until the recent passage of Proposition 5, we haven’t had the funds to develop some of the properties we have in our inventory. So, it’s exciting that we can build new state parks for future generations of Texans to enjoy.”
Among the parks on the horizon is the Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area near Boerne. The others span from Del Rio to North Texas to the Houston area.
See below to read more about the upcoming state parks, one of which is opening right around the corner.
- The Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area is still in the planning and development phase but is expected to include camping, backpacking and hiking. TPWD accepted the 3,814-acre donation from Albert and Bessie Kronkosky in March 2011. According to TPWD, the couple began buying land in the area in 1946 and wanted to protect it from development. Rare or endangered Hill Country species have also been found there, including the golden-cheeked warbler, alligator lizard and Texas spring salamander, its website states. There is no time frame for opening.
- The Chinati Mountains State Natural Area spans 39,000 acres in the Trans-Pecos region. It lies northwest of Big Bend State Park and contains wildlife like mule deer, bobcats and Nelson’s pocket mouse. According to TPWD, the gray-checkered whiptail lizard is nearly unique to the mountains and is not found in many other places. It also has pictographs and petroglyphs that date back 8,000 years. The land was donated to TPWD by the Richard King Mellon Foundation. No opening date has been set.
- The Dan A. Hughes Unit will be the second unit of the Devils River State Natural Area; the units are 13 miles apart by the river. As of now, people can access the Dan A. Hughes Unit with the purchase of a Devil River Access Permit and with the authorization of a TPWD guide or shuttle service. The unit is currently in development for easier access and expanded amenities. The Devil’s River State Natural Area is located north of Del Rio. The opening date is unknown.
- The Davis Hill State Natural Area will span 1,700 acres along the Trinity River, about an hour east of Houston, according to the Texas Monthly. The magazine reported that it will have a white sandy beach along the river. Excited Texans will have to wait, though, as it isn’t expected to open until 2034.
- The Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, about 75 miles west of Dallas-Fort Worth, is in its construction phase and is expected to open in 2024. It is expected to offer hiking, fishing, camping and stargazing. Camping will be open for RVs and tents, as well as primitive areas. There is also Tucker Lake on the 4,871-acre site, but it won’t be open for motorboats. In 2011, TPWD purchased the first 3,300 acres of the site, which used to be a ranch.
- As part of the Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area, the Powderhorn State Park will span 2,253 acres near Port Lavaca. It is the latest acquisition by TPWD, which calls it “one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled coastal prairie in the state. The freshwater wetlands and salt marshes are not only home to fish and wildlife, but act as a natural water filter and protect communities from storm surges. Endangered whooping cranes also call the ranch home. The new state park would be one of few along the Texas coast. There is no timeline for its opening.
For the state parks that don’t yet have a timeline, the TPWD says that it is a long process from land acquisition to groundbreaking to opening. The development of a state park could take several years, or even decades, as it depends on funding, the master plan and land surveys.
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