Texas state parks working to return to normal capacity
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - After tracking Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest reopening order, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began working to allow more Texans the opportunity to visit state parks.
The department has lifted the restrictions affecting group sizes, but strongly encourages mask use for park visitors, especially indoors or in areas difficult to socially distance.
“We’re excited to welcome more visitors to our parks,” said Rodney Franklin, the TPWD’s director of state parks.
“We want Texans to know that the safety of our visitors and our park staff is our top priority as we increase visitor capacity. Prior to COVID-19, and throughout the last year, our parks have seen growing visitation and our teams are working hard to accommodate those who want to get outside and experience the incredible natural and cultural resources our parks have to offer.”
Most of the Texas state parks will begin to expand capacity immediately but some may continue to have some capacity limits.
TPWD says a few parks are still recovering from Winter Storm Uri and are completing repairs or have other operational considerations.
The department encourages guests to consider visiting parks during on a weekday as the weekends and holidays are typically busier.
Many popular parks, especially those in Central Texas, are already booking up for spring break and the summer months.
“This time of COVID-19 has reinforced the power and criticality of providing quality, accessible, and affordable outdoor recreational opportunities for all Texans,” said Carter Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“Getting outdoors is essential for people’s physical and mental health, and Texas State Parks play a critical role in meeting this need.”
Guests may purchase day passes up to one month in advance, guaranteeing access to parks even during busy times.
TPWD recommends checking the state park map, social media pages or calling parks directly for updates on specific park operations or capacity.
Guests, including annual pass holders, who have reserved day passes or campsites but are unable to visit are encouraged to cancel their reservations, so others have an opportunity to visit the park.
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