Texas Parks and Wildlife commission approves purchase of land in bid to save Fairfield Lake State Park

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 4:33 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - A Texas Parks and Wildlife aommission unanimously voted to authorize the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to take all necessary steps to purchase approximately 5,000 acres in Freestone County, including Fairfield Lake State Park.

The potential purchase of Fairfield Lake State Park, and its adjacent acreage, is a possibility after state lawmakers approved funding and resources to support land acquisition to support more state parks across Texas.

The Commission also discussed scheduling a special commission meeting in the first week of June to explore additional legal options to save Fairfield Lake State Park.

TPWD acquired Fairfield Lake State Park by lease in 1971 from Texas Utilities, now Vistra Energy. The park opened to the public in 1976 and averages 80,000 visitors a year, the state said.

Vistra decided to sell the property after shutting down the coal plant it operated across the lake from the park in 2018.

The park initially closed to the public on Feb. 27, 2023 as TPWD staff geared up to prepare the property for sale.

The park, however, reopened to the public a few days later as the Texas Legislature considered how the leased property might be saved from being sold and redeveloped into a residential area.

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Todd Interests, the firm that purchased the land where the state park sits, has spoken out against the legislature’s actions, arguing it impedes on private property rights.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has not said when, or how, it plans to purchase the land from the firm that owns it.