Texas State Parks listed as a finalist for national parks and recreation award

2023 is the centennial year for Texas State Parks

A view of Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States on December 23, 2020 in Canyon, Texas. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images) (Josh Brasted, 2020 Josh Brasted)

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas State Parks system is a finalist for a national award that recognizes excellence in parks and recreation.

Texas State Parks is one of four systems in the running for the 2023 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, an award from the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

According to a news release from Texas State Parks, nominees are judged on long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

“I’m proud to have the hard work of our Texas State Park staff recognized for building one of the best state park systems in the country,” Rodney Franklin, the director of Texas State Parks, said in a news release. “It is an honor for Texas State Parks to be nationally recognized for our efforts to welcome all Texans and preserve the gems of Texas for all generations.”

The recognition comes amid Texas State Parks’ centennial year. Throughout the year, state parks have hosted a variety of events for education and outreach.

“The fact that we were named a finalist among peer institutions across the country really highlights the progress we have made over the past century to fulfill then-Gov. Pat Neff’s vision of a Texas dotted with state parks ‘to be held in sacred trust by the State for the public good, now and forever,’” Franklin added.

The other systems in the running for the award are Missouri State Parks, Ohio State Parks and Watercraft, and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.

The winner will be named in October at the NRPA conference in Dallas.

For more information on centennial events at Texas State Parks, click here.

Watch below: Vintage photos show early days of Texas State Parks as it celebrates 100 years

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.