May 11, 2023 - Things to Do

Six new state parks coming to Texas in the next 15 years

Upcoming Texas state parks
Data: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Map: Axios Visuals

Texas will add at least six new state parks over the next 15 years.

Driving the news: Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks, says there is a need for additional parks and recreational opportunities to accommodate the state's growing population, per Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

Zoom in: Two of the parks will be close to Houston:

Davis Hill State Natural Area, 40 miles from downtown Houston, stretches from the highest hill on the Texas coastal plain down to a white-sand beach along the Trinity River.

  • The land, currently inaccessible, has one of the most diverse plant ecosystems, according to the magazine.
  • The site, named after James Davis, who was a plantation owner and veteran of the War of 1812, was acquired in 1983 and is approximately 1,700 acres.

Powderhorn State Park, about two hours from Houston, is one of the largest remaining areas of unspoiled coastal prairie in Texas.

  • The property, currently called Powderhorn Ranch, is 17,351 acres, but most of that is reserved for Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area, which supports public hunting opportunities.
  • The 2,253 acres of the park will have outdoor recreation, including camping, fishing, hiking, birding, kayaking and public hunting.
  • The park, acquired by the department in 2021, was purchased for $37.7 million. It is one of the biggest conservation projects in Texas history, per Texas Monthly, and was partially funded with money from the BP Horizon oil spill mitigation.

Zoom out: Two of the parks will be in West Texas.

  • Chinati Mountains State Natural Area, approximately 40,000 acres near Big Bend, will showcase the terrain from the lowlands, like desert shrubs, and higher-elevation grass-oak plant communities.
  • Devils River State Natural Area, near Del Rio, is almost 18,000 acres of land at the intersection of the Edwards Plateau, the Chihuahuan Desert and the Tamaulipan shrublands. Acquired in 2010, construction at the park is slated to complete early next year.
  • Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, 80 miles west of Fort Worth, will open later this year, per the Houston Chronicle. It will be first new state park in North Texas in 25 years and will offer hiking, camping and horseback riding in its hills, canyons and forests, and fishing on its 90-acre lake.
  • Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area, 30 minutes north of San Antonio, has classic Hill Country terrain with canyons and oak-juniper woodlands. The nearly 4,000-acre park is expected to open in the next five years.

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