The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) plans to spend $4.35 million to upgrade Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas, $3.67 million for repairs at Bastrop State Park near Austin and $1.55 million on cabin renovations and other repairs at Garner State Park in the Hill Country.
Another $1 million will be used to repair the infrastructure of Sea Rim State Park, damaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. TPWD hopes to reopen that coastal park, near the Texas-Louisiana border, at some point next year, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Other objectives for 2008 include opening the newest wing of the World Birding Center at Resaca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville and the resumption of camping and trail use at Lake Somerville State Park’s Nails Creek unit.
Specifics about these and other enhancements were announced recently by TPWD, which is dedicating new money allocated by the Texas Legislature.
Legislation passed in June provided $25.6 million for park operations and staff hirings during the 2008-2009 biennium. An additional $52 million appropriation was approved by voters in the Nov. 6 election; this includes $25 million to dry-berth the battleship Texas and $27 million for major infrastructure repairs at parks throughout the state.
Approximately 220 new state park employee positions are being filled, allowing extended opening days and hours at some parks. These hires include interpretive rangers, with the goal of expanding educational programs.
Texas state parks attracted 9,293,860 visits during the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, according to the TPWD. Cedar Hill attracted the most visitors, 531,153, while Garner attracted the most overnight campers, with 223,008.