Texas Spoken Friendly
With a diverse assortment of activities and locales, Texas state parks’ afford a fun experience for almost any traveler or budget.
Kickapoo Caverns State Park to host grand opening event June 12
After operating as a limited-access park for more than 20 years, Kickapoo Caverns State Park will host an all-day grand opening event free to the public on Saturday, June 12, commemorating the park’s official opening.
Thanks in large part to increases in appropriated funding from the Texas Legislature, the Texas State Park system was able to hire staff and develop more public facilities and trails, making it possible to accommodate a higher volume of visitors, and operate seven days a week.
Park users will be able to enjoy year-round recreation at Kickapoo for camping, hiking, and biking on the more than 12 miles of developed and undeveloped trails, diverse birding opportunities, and viewings of popular seasonal bat flights.
The grand opening event, coined the Kickapoo Kickoff, will also feature free camping for the weekend, and an opening ceremony to dedicate the new Seargeant Memorial Trail at 10 a.m.
Hiking tours, birding tours, plant and nature walks, hands-on archaeology activities, mountain biking (bikes and helmets provided), and wild cave tours of Kickapoo Cavern are also scheduled throughout the day, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Later in the evening just before sunset, staff and volunteers will also be leading visitors to one of the park’s most renowned attractions: bat flight viewing tours of Stuart Bat Cave, where hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge at dusk for their nightly hunting trip for insects during warm weather months.
To view a map of the park, click here,
The park is reached by taking US Highway 90 west from Uvalde or east from Del Rio, then taking Ranch Road 674 north of Brackettville for 22 miles. Look for signs on the Highway. The gate is ¼ mile past the Edwards County line on the west side of the highway.
Cedar Hill State Park to upgrade to full-service campsites
In 1854, when John Penn moved into the Cedar Mountains 20 miles southwest of a tiny new community called Dallas, using electricity to run a home was not even an idea, much less an option. When the site of the Penn family farm became Cedar Hill State Park 137 years later, in 1991, RVers plugged into 30-amp electric power and water service.
But only 19 years later, thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, early this fall TPWD will be upgrading about 150 sites to 50-amp pedestals and sewer service in the Lakeview and Eagle Ford camping loops.
With 275,000 visitors last year, Cedar Hill is one of the busiest parks in the Texas Parks and Wildlife system.
The approximately $3.5 million in upgrades at Cedar Hill puts another checkmark on a long list of major Texas State Parks rejuvenation projects underway this year.
Only 22 miles from downtown Dallas and 28 miles from Fort Worth, it is close enough for an after-work ride on its excellent bike trails or even a long picnic lunch break. The park has more than 200 picnic tables with grills, and three playgrounds. Harried Dallasites can make this quick escape in less than 30 minutes, if traffic cooperates.
To watch the Cedar Hill State Park video on YouTube, click here.
Buescher State Park saving CCC history
For more than seven decades the massive-looking Recreation Hall at Buescher State Park has stood firmly on a hill overlooking the park’s lake. The historic Civilian Conservation Corps structure has moved—the result of creep—three inches downhill. Still sound and functional, the hall also has been plagued by sticking doors and windows, the result of frame-settling and bowing lintels. Late this summer, Texas Parks and Wildlife will take action to correct those issues and others at the hall.
Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, Texas Parks and Wildlife is able to protect and preserve Buescher’s historic and stately Recreation Hall. The more than $700,000 in work to save and update the Buescher Recreation Hall is one more check on a long list of major Texas State Parks rejuvenation projects underway this year.
Buescher, pronounced Bisher, is sometimes overlooked in the shadow of its sister park, Bastrop. At just a little more than a thousand acres, it is less than a fifth the size of Bastrop, and its visitation last year, an impressive 46,000, was still less than a third of Bastrop.
The park has dozens of camping sites, including walk-in sites for tent campers and water and electric sites for RVs.
Another draw is the 7 ½ miles of hiking trails. Though most of Buescher is dense hardwoods, as you hike farther north you get into the loblollies of the Lost Pines for which this region is known.
Buescher is 4 ½ miles north of Smithville and 12 miles east of Bastrop.
To watch the Buescher State Park video on YouTube, click here.
New shade shelters for Goose Island State Park
One of Texas’ earliest state parks has stood up to the wind, surf, and sun for almost 75 years, but now and then the elements start gaining on it. This fall Texas Parks and Wildlife will acknowledge Mother Nature’s constant challenge at Goose Island State Park by removing 45 concrete shade shelters worn down from more than 35 years of harsh weather.
Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, TPWD will then replace the old shelters with 45 new shelters, ready once more to take whatever the Gulf of Mexico—and thousands of visitors annually—can throw at them.
Goose Island State Park is located, mostly, at the tip of the landmass surrounded by St. Charles, Aransas, and Copano bays. A short distance across St. Charles Bay is Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Goose Island is located 10 miles north of Rockport and 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. It totals 321 acres, about 150 acres on Goose Island itself, where the shade shelters are located. Another 90 acres, on the mainland, form the section called the Wooded Area, which has 57 electric and water campsites and 25 non-electric sites.
Another 60 acres is right of way on Park Road 13, which goes about 1 ½ miles to one of the park’s premiere features, The Big Tree.
The Big Tree is the state champion coastal live oak tree. It was named that in 1969 by the Texas Forest Service. It’s estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.
To watch the official Goose Island State Park video on YouTube, click here.
Summer issue of State Park Getaways now available
Summer issue of State Park Getaways, Texas Parks and Wildlife e-newletter is now available. This issues has stories on the grand opening of Kickapoo Cavern State Park, less than 150 miles west of San Antonio and on Brazos Bend State Park which is 45 miles from Houston. Take a closer look at the Red Admiral Butterfly, check out the newest park improvements, learn how to safely transport your kayak so you can enjoying paddling at a park near you, and more in this issue.
If a man’s from Texas, he’ll tell you. If he’s not, why embarrass him by asking?
Decide to make the most of each moment! Visit a park today!
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