State Parks revitalization completed

AUSTIN— Several Texas State Parks construction projects are now complete thanks to a significant increase in dedicated funding through legislation passed by the 84th Texas Legislature.

House Bill 158 dedicated 94 percent of state sales taxes collected on sporting goods to TPWD. These funds have been primarily directed to much-needed state park capital repairs and improvements, addressing a backlog of deteriorating facility needs through water and wastewater projects, restroom replacements, electric utility modernization and other improvements.

Parks with projects completed this year include Bastrop State Park, Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway, Choke Canyon State Park, Fort Boggy State Park, Inks Lake State Park, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Possum Kingdom State Park, Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center and Tyler State Park.

One of the most recent projects completed is the first phase of one-of-a-kind cabins at Fort Boggy State Park located between Dallas and Houston on IH 45. The rustic wooden cabins located across from the park lake were built under a canopy of trees and can be accessed by a new 65-foot bridge. Each cabin comes with a microwave, refrigerator, an open deck, wood floors and ceiling fans. Since the cabins are completely in the shade of the canopy of trees, park visitors have the flexibility to use the cabin areas all year.

In addition, more than 3,000 feet of new boardwalks traversing the restored prairie and wetland habitat demonstration sites were installed at Sheldon Lake. The new boardwalk waysides and interpretive exhibits will help park visitors learn about the unique ecology at the park as well as descriptions of wildlife they might encounter.

Habitat restoration work for Sheldon Lake has been ongoing since 2002. The new greenhouse located at the environmental learning center will be used by volunteers for growing plants for prairie restoration at the park. Prairie and wetland restoration at the east side of the West Canal was one of the main projects of this phase of restoration for the park.

One of the wetland areas now has a new bird watching platform installed for experienced and novice birders alike to view and document the unique species of birds found in that part of Texas.

Other completed projects this year…

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