Texas state parks to temporarily close to the public

All Texas State Parks will be closed to the public effective Tuesday evening, according to a news release.

The park closures are under the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott in order to maintain the safest environment for visitors, volunteers and staff.

“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith stated in the press release. “All state parks will remain temporarily closed until public health and safety conditions improve. During the closure, staff will continue to steward and care for the parks to ensure they can be immediately reopened to visitors at the appropriate time.”

Local parks that will be affected by this include Mission’s Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Brownsville’s Resaca de la Palma State Park, Estero LLano Grande State Park in Weslaco, and Roma’s Falcon State Park.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will continue to stay current with the latest public health recommendations and will announce when a definite reopening date has been determined, the release stated.

While parks are closed to the public, staff will be working to help maintain the standard upkeep, maintenance, stewardship, and continued regular cleaning of site facilities.

According to the release, TPWD implemented “increasingly” restrictive visitor use measures to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 at parks, but difficulty in ensuring compliance with social distancing, problems in maintaining adequate supplies and keeping park facilities sufficiently sanitized has reached a point where public safety considerations of those in the parks, and in the surrounding communities, must take precedence over continued operations.

Outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, biking, jogging, walking, hiking, wildlife viewing and the like will continue to be encouraged by TPWD in ways that are safe and close to home, said Smith.

Through this trying time, TPWD has worked diligently to facilitate access to the outdoors across the state, including in the state park system, which hosted nearly 740,000 day and overnight visitors throughout the month of March.

The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center is currently working toward contacting customers with upcoming overnight reservations to reimburse stays booked through the reservation system. Group and facility reservations have been cancelled until April 30. Cancelled reservations will not be charged normal administrative fees.

Day passes purchased through the reservation system, not associated to the Texas State Parks Pass, will also be refunded without penalties. The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center will automatically process cancellations of both overnight and day-use reservations. If your reservation is impacted by a facility or park closure, a Customer Service Center agent will contact you.

Questions regarding state park reservations can be emailed to [email protected] and general park information can be found at TexasStateParks.org.

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