Holiday Hours
Quick Start for:

TEXAS STATE PARKS

Natural Economic Assets

Farm House at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site in Gillespie County, Texas

STATE PARK PROFILES

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park
and Historic Site
Gillespie County

Hill Country Region

The LBJ park, near Stonewall in Central Texas, is actually a complex of three facilities: the state park on the south bank of the Pedernales River, the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm that abuts it and, across the river, a national historic park containing the reconstructed birthplace, schoolhouse and family cemetery of the nation’s 36th president.

The visitor’s center at the park is a joint effort by the state and federal park systems. Guided tours via bus leave the center hourly, bound for the national park, and are the only legal access visitors have to that park. None of the three facilities offers camping facilities, but the state park has a swimming pool popular with local residents, a dining hall and a group picnic area.

“Companies are becoming more interested in quality of life and outdoor recreation for their employees,” says Snelgrove, to which Weberpal quickly adds, “and parks are part of the total package.”

The Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm operates as it did in 1918. Volunteer farmers in period clothing using period tools run the farm. One of the two homes on the site is a log cabin used by the Sauer family when they settled the area in 1869. By 1900, the Beckmann family owned the farm. As the family’s fortunes increased with good cotton crops, the Beckmanns built another, more modern Victorian house next door. But the term “modern” is relative – the “new” house has a porch, a tin roof and is covered in painted pressed tin common in that time. Barns, gardens, a blacksmithing area and a smokehouse complete the farm.1

Terry Young, assistant park manager, works closely with the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce and sits on their board. The annual “Peach Jamboree” in June is Stonewall’s big celebration, and park attendance is notably higher during that weekend.2

Thirteen miles to the west of Stonewall is the Gillespie County seat, Fredericksburg. Although there are no state parks in the city itself, the LBJ state park and the popular Enchanted Rock state park are nearby. They are so close, in fact, that Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce President Mike Weberpal and Gillespie County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Greg Snelgrove mention them in one breath.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site in Gillespie County, Texas

Weberpal says, “Our website gets 720,000 hits per year; about 125,000 of those are attributable to tourism activities in Gillespie County. The fourth most-searched term is ‘outdoor’ and the tenth most-searched term is ‘parks.’ From that, we estimate that the parks and other county tourism activities account for 15 percent of our tourism income.” The site’s popularity convinced county government to recently approve recently additional Web site development.

Fredericksburg has long been a popular tourist attraction with its beautiful scenery, historic Main Street and numerous bed and breakfasts, guest lodges, vacation homes, wineries and brewpubs. Weberpal and Snelgrove estimate that more than half of the visitors are retirees, but many visitors are families or groups coming to enjoy a reunion and the vistas. They also consider the presence of the state parks and other local attractions to contribute significantly to the area’s amenities.

“Companies are becoming more interested in quality of life and outdoor recreation for their employees,” says Snelgrove, to which Weberpal quickly adds, “and parks are part of the total package.”

“We get 1.3 to 1.5 million visitors to Fredericksburg per year,” says Weberpal. The city has 982 hotel rooms and 330 bed and breakfast sites. “Retail spending is about $97 million, and we receive $24.5 million in lodging receipts.”3

Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Site contributed $33,101,011 in sales and $17,165,483 in personal income to Gillespie County
in 2006.

Due in part to the limited camping facilities but high number of day visitors, LBJ State Park does not often generate enough revenue to cover its expenses. In fiscal 2007, operating expenses – excluding costs for major capital repairs and employee benefits –were $777,284 against revenues of $202,263 for a net operating loss of $575,021. Enchanted Rock, on the other hand, with extensive camping and recreational facilities, generated a net return of $521,124 with $388,139 in operating expenses and $909,263 in revenues.4

According to a study conducted by John Crompton and Juddson Culpepper of Texas A&M University, Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Site contributed $33,101,011 in sales and $17,165,483 in personal income to Gillespie County in 2006. The park also created 719.7 jobs and generated $165,505 in sales tax revenue for the county in that year.5

Summary Economic Impacts
LBJ State Historic Site, Gillespie County

2006 County Sales 2006 County Resident Income 2006 County Employment (Full-Time Equivalent) 2006 County Sales Tax Generated
$33,101,011 $17,165,483 719.7 $165,505

Source: Texas A&M University.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Direct Spending (Fiscal 2007)

Revenues Operating Expenses* Net Income
$202,263 $777,284 ($575,021)

* Includes salaries, operating expenses and minor (non-capital) repair.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Endnotes

  • 1 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, “Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site,” pp. 2-9, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lyndon_b_johnson/. (Last visited August 26, 2008.)
  • 2 Interview with Terry Young, assistant park manager, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Stonewall, Texas, July 30, 2008.
  • 3 Interview with Mike Weberpal, president of Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce and Greg Snelgrove, executive director of Gillespie County Economic Development Coalition, Fredericksburg, Texas, July 30, 2008.
  • 4 Data provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, “Revenue Less Operating Costs, FY 2006-2007,” with Texas Comptroller’s office calculations. Amounts may not total due to rounding.
  • 5 Texas Coalition for Conservation, The Economic Contributions of Texas State Parks in FY 2006, by John L. Crompton and Juddson Culpepper, Texas A&M University, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences (Austin, Texas, December 2006), http://rptsweb.tamu.edu/faculty/Crompton/Crompton/Articles/3.10.pdf. (Last visited August 26, 2008.)
Required Plug-ins