I love the outdoors, Texas food, and some Texas wines. This is my story about combining the three into an adventure to see all the state parks of Texas, eat a lot of Texas food, and find as many good Texas wines as I can.
“There will be things to do all over the park: Star of the Republic Museum (collections and programs honoring history of early Texans); Independence Hall (where representatives wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, work and farm as did the original residents of this homestead).
Texas HB 158 is sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed. Why is this important for Texas State Park Funding?
SPORTING GOODS SALES TAX ALLOCATION
Since 1993, a portion of the sales tax revenue generated by sporting goods has been statutorily allocated to fund state park operations, capital, and local park grants. Prior to that, state and local parks were each allocated a one penny per pack tax on cigarettes, which probably set the precedent for providing equal allocations to state and local parks. The Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) allocation was introduced because the cigarette tax proved to be a declining revenue source that bore no relationship to the mission of providing state park services.
In the years since passing this funding bill the legislature has capped the amount of funds that can be given to the parks. The “excess” money is used for anything else the legislature wants to use it for during that biennial. If you’ve visited any parks in Texas you will probably question the idea of “excess” funding. The parks are underfunded even though tax payers believe she/he pays a tax on sporting goods that all goes to the parks. In fact only about HALF of that tax revenue makes it to the parks.
How can you help? This legislative session there is a bill that removes the cap on allocating the sporting goods tax revenue to the parks system. Texas HB 158 has passed both the Senate and the House with little objection. Now the parks are waiting for Governor Abbot to sign the bill. The parks are running out of time. If you choose to support this cause I encourage you to write the Goveror a short note showing your support of this bill. You can submit a quick online note at the link below. I’ve also included the mailing address and phone number.
Just south of Goliad State Park is Presidio La Bahia. You can walk here from Goliad State park or make the short drive. I should warn that the hill from the road to the Presidio is a little steep and may be difficult for some. Driving may be best if you are unsure or with little ones.
Located 1/4 mile south of Goliad State Park on U.S. Highway 183 and 77A and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria. View exhibits, enjoy an interpretive program and exciting reenactments, and imagine life at the fort. Originally built in 1749 to protect the mission and the frontier, it later played a major role in the Texas Revolution. Here, Colonel Fannin and his ill-fated men were held prior to being executed at Santa Anna’s order, an act of infamy later recalled at the Battle of San Jacinto with the cry, “Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!” For a very special experience, make reservations to stay overnight in the comfortable Priests Quarters.
The Presidio is the origin of one of my favorite Texas Battle Flags. My friends and I still fly this one at tailgates and other events when we need to stand out in the crowd of flags.
In front of Presidio La Bahia is the Zaragoza Birthplace SHS.
Ever wonder why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This day honors General Ignacio Zaragoza, who defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Visit his reconstructed birthplace adjacent to the Presidio to learn about this Texas-Mexican hero, born here in 1829. Descendants of the original town of La Bahía, the settlement that grew up around the Presidio, still live in the area today. Don’t miss the adjacent Zaragoza statue, donated by the citizens of Puebla, Mexico.
Access to this side building is limited. I recommend calling ahead to check for availability. The Presidio and birthplace of Zaragoza are not part of the State Park. There are additional fees to access both. Please plan accordingly.
Next to Mission Espiritu Santo is Goliad State Park. Although small, this park packs a punch when it comes to Texas History. Along with the neighboring mission that I posted about previously there are several other historic sites nearby. Additionally the park has plenty to offer in the form of outdoor activities.
Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming is available across from the park, at a junior Olympic swimming pool, operated by the city of Goliad (Swimming Safety Tips), nature study, and historical study. The park offers a floating dock and river access for kayaks and canoes, and is a take-out point for the Goliad Paddling Trail.