Century-Old, State Parks on November Ballot

You don’t need a camper to appreciate Texas’ state parks, but having one could motivate you to visit nearly all of them.

Since buying our tiny teardrop trailer in 2021, my Young Bride and I have stayed in at least 13 of the parks – some more than once – and dropped by to scout out a few others.

We’ve seen prehistoric tracks near Glen Rose (Dinosaur Valley State Park), enjoyed stunning views at Seminole Canyon, and found surprisingly good swimming at Lake Brownwood.

My Texas State Parks app lists 89 parks, so we have a bunch to go.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) recently honored Texas State Parks with the 2023 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

“It is touching and fitting to receive this prestigious award during our centennial year, truly substantiating the progress we have made over the past century to fulfill the vision laid out by Gov. Patt Neff of providing places where the people of Texas could enjoy the beauty of this great state,” Texas State Parks director Rodney Franklin said.

As the centennial year nears a close, voters will find Texas State Parks on the Nov. 7 constitutional amendment ballot.

Early voting starts Oct. 23, and former People Newspapers deputy editor Bethany Erickson hopes to have an online guide to all 14 propositions ready for our sister publication D Magazine. Look for it at dmagazine.com.

The Texas Coalition for State Parks explains that Proposition 14, if approved, would create the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund with $1 billion from this year’s budget surplus, potentially earning $50 million a year in interest.

State Sen. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound), whose district stretches from the Park Cities through part of Preston Hollow to the northwest, sponsored legislation to put the matter on the ballot.

On Oct. 3, he visited outdoors retailer REI on Northwest Highway to tout this opportunity for expanding a park system that already draws more than 9 million visitors annually.

It’s not our habit at People Newspapers to tell you how to vote, and I won’t break with that tradition here.

But I will give Sen. Parker the final words: “The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund would provide dependable, long-term funding for new park acquisition that will protect the unique natural and cultural treasures of Texas, creating the opportunity to ensure our state parks thrive for generations to come.”


Early voting: Oct. 23-Nov. 3
Election Day: Nov. 7

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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