After finding damage to the swimming pool the pool was closed indefinitely. The parks system just didn’t have the funding to repair the structure. The TPWD Foundation along with the Apache Corporation have raised over $1 million and efforts continue. This pool is a unique park in our parks system and it will truly be a triumphant return for this oasis. Be sure and check out the Texas Monthly article on the fundraising efforts.
Now taking reservations ONLINE!
For those that haven’t heard you can now reserve your spot at our state’s parks using the online reservation system. This is great for those parks that are difficult to get to and then you do get all the way there and see the dreaded “park full” sign. Not any more. You can now reserve a day pass to popular parks like Enchanted Rock and not worry about there being space when you get there. Plan ahead though as parks are filling up faster than ever.
Pedernales Falls State Park
This is one of my favorite parks. Not only is it close to my home base, but it offers so much as a park. Waterfalls, bird watching, wildlife, long challenging trails, and so much more. I’ve been to this park many times over the years and I’m still learning new trails and discovering new treasures every time I visit. Here’s some pics from my recent visit. It’s amazing how much two years of good rains has changed the river. Bouldering is still fun but it is a little more challenging to get to some features.
PSA: remember to stay on the park side of the river. The other side is private property and you can be arrested if caught trespassing. Also, there is no swimming above the falls. It is very difficult to see the rock formations just under the water and with just a little precipitation the water above the falls becomes violent in mere seconds.
Happy 181st Texas!
Washington-on-the-Brazos will have its annual Texas Independence Day Festival on March 4th. This is a great FREE event for all Texans and non-Texans alike.
10am March 4th to 5pm March 5th
“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).
The birthday celebration features:
- Live music & performances
- Tours of Independence Hall
- Traditional crafts & demonstrations
- Living history presentations
- Historical encampments & commemorative programs
- Historic firearms & cannon demonstrations”
CCC sites to See
Texas Parks and Wildlife has published a great PDF of the 9 CCC sites to see in 2016.
You do have to enter an email address, but you can easily unsubscribe from their distribution list at a later time. The PDF is worth it.
9 CCC sites to see – Texas parks and wildlife magazine
I have visited several of the parks on the list and agree that the drive is more than worth it to see the amazing buildings built by the CCC at these parks.
Spoiler: The Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park is on the list and can only be truly appreciated in person. Plus you can swing by Balmorhea State Park on the way in or out (why not both?).
Lake Somerville seeing bird migrations
For the bird enthusiasts out there now would be a great time to check out Lake Somerville.
picture below is from flag pond
Call to Action: Texas State Parks Need Your Help
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.
Write the Governor of Texas a quick electronic note of support of Texas HB 158
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
State Capitol Bldg.
1100 Congress, Room 2S.1
Austin, TX 78701
Fax: (512) 463-1849
Presidio La Bahia
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.
Goliad State Park
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.
Mission Espiritu Santo State Historic Site
Back in September of 2013 I visited a great Mission in Goliad (and apparently forgot to hit publish on the posting). If you haven’t been to Goliad State Park yet I recommend adding it to your list. This site combined with its neighboring historical sites make for a great day trip for anybody.
The mission has been beautifully restored to it’s 18th century condition.
For reference, here is a picture of the 2004 condition.
An interpretative guide is provided on the Texas Parks and Wildlife site.