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Balmorhea State Park is located on 45.9 acres in the foothills of the Davis Mountains southwest of Balmorhea in Reeves County. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the early 1930s, the park was deeded in 1934 by private owners and Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 1. The park was opened in 1968.
Brazos Bend State Park, approximately 28 miles southwest of Houston, covers roughly 5,000 acres, with an eastern boundary of 3.2 miles fronting on the Brazos River on the southeast border of Fort Bend County. This was the area of Texas' first Anglo colonization. It was purchased by the state in 1976-77 and was opened to the public in 1984.
Archeological materials show that prehistoric people visited this area, possibly as early as 300 BC; in early historical times, the Capoque band of the Karankawa Indians roamed between the mouth of the Brazos River and Galveston Bay and may have traveled inland as far as Brazos Bend
Davis Mountains State Park, 2708.9 acres in size, is located in Jeff Davis County, four miles northwest of Fort Davis, approximately halfway between Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, and Big Bend National Park. The original portion of the park was deeded to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by a local family. Original improvements were accomplished by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933; the park has been open to the public in since the late 1930s; formal campground facilities were added in 1967.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area consists of 1643.5 acres on Big Sandy Creek, north of Fredericksburg, on the border between Gillespie and Llano Counties. It was acquired by warranty deed in 1978 by the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Inc., from the Moss family. The state acquired it in 1984, added facilities, and reopened the park in March 1984, but humans have visited here for over 11,000 years. Enchanted Rock was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States.
Garner State Park is 1419.8 acres (10 water acres of the Frio River) of recreational facilities in northern Uvalde County. Located thirty miles north of Uvalde and seven miles north of Concan, Garner State Park has ten acres of riverfront. The park offers camping, hiking, nature study, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, swimming in the Frio River (unsupervised), seasonal miniature golf, paddle boat and kayak rentals (mid-March through Labor Day weekend), bike riding (surfaced).
Goliad State Park is 188.3 acres, located by Goliad in Goliad County. The park, located on the San Antonio River, contains a refurnished replica of Mission Nuestra Senora del Espíritu Santo de Zuniga. Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating (no ramps provided for river access), swimming (a junior olympic swimming pool, operated by the City of Goliad is across from the park), nature study, and historical study.
Goose Island State Park, 321.4 acres, surrounded by the St. Charles and Aransas Bays, is located north of Rockport in Aransas County. Although located on Aransas Bay, there is no swimming area at this park. The shoreline is comprised of concrete bulkhead, oyster shell, mud flat, and marsh grass. The main recreational activities are camping, excellent birding, and fishing. Other activities include picnicking, boating (motors allowed), nature study, wildlife observation, and photography.
Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera is Hill Country State Natural Area, an undeveloped and secluded retreat. Approximately 40 miles of multi-use trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills. Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy exploring the trails. Primitive and backcountry camping areas are available to equestrian and non-equestrian campers.
Interesting features of the park include 20 known caves, two of which are large enough to be significant. Kickapoo Cavern is approximately 0.25 miles in length (1,400 feet) and boasts some impressive formations. Tours are offered on Saturdays by reservation. Stuart Bat Cave (formally Green Cave), slightly shorter than Kickapoo at 1,068 feet, serves as a migratory stopover for large numbers of Mexican free-tailed bats from mid-March to about the end of October. Bat flights are often spectacular, and public observations are available with an entrance permit.
Lost Maples State Natural Area covers 2174.2 scenic acres in Bandera and Real Counties, north of Vanderpool on the Sabinal River. Archaeological evidence shows that this area was used by prehistoric peoples at various times. In historic times, which began with Spanish exploration and colonization efforts in the late 17th century, the Apache, Lipan Apache, and Comanche Indians ranged over the land and posed a threat to settlement well into the 19th century. Visitors enjoy picnicking, camping, backpacking, sightseeing, hiking, photography, birdwatching, fishing, swimming, and nature study.
Palmetto State Park, 270.3 acres, named for the tropical Dwarf Palmetto plant found there, is located in Gonzales County, northwest of Gonzales and southeast of Luling. The park abuts the San Marcos River and also has a 4-acre oxbow lake. Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, birding, nature study, pedal boat and canoe rentals, swimming, tubing, and canoeing.
Longhorn Cavern State Park features Longhorn Cavern, a Texas Hill Country wonder created over thousands of years by the dissolving and cutting action of water on the limestone bedrock of the area. Fossil remains show that many Ice Age animals once occupied the cave.
Our earliest records indicate that the Comanche Indians were the first to use the cavern. They came in about 400 years or so before anyone else did.
In more recent history, the cavern was used as a Confederate stronghold where gunpowder was manufactured in secret during the Civil War. The cavern is also rumored to have been the hideout of Sam Bass, a legendary Texas outlaw.
Longhorn Cavern is one
of the few river-formed caverns in Texas.
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