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Parks and Recreation

The Alamo region hosts several state and national parks and historic sites showcasing its scenic beauty and cultural heritage. The state parks with the most significant economic impact on the region are Goliad State Park and Historic Site, Guadalupe River State Park, Hill Country State Natural Area, Lost Maples State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Palmetto State Park and Lake Texana (Exhibit 32).

Goliad State Park and Historic Site, located just south of the town of Goliad along the San Antonio River, contains the Mission Espíritu Santo. Established in the 18th century, this mission housed Spanish padres who proselytized among the Karankawa Indians in the area. The 188-acre park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Although it is relatively small, Goliad State Park offers a variety of activities including camping, boating and hiking as well as a Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool. In fiscal 2008, Goliad State Park had about 51,000 visitors.29

Lost Maples State Natural Area is a site made famous by its stand of Bigtooth Maples, a uniquely isolated collection that exists well to the east of most other Bigtooth Maple populations in the U.S.

Exhibit 32

Alamo Region, Economic Impact of State Parks

Name Number of Visitors 2008 2007 Total Economic Impact on Sales 2007 Spending by Visitors
Enchanted Rock State Park 185,000 $$5,920,000 $$3,860,000
Goliad State Park 51,000 $1,110,000 $410,000
Guadalupe River State Park/ Honey Creek State Natural Area 164,000 $2,370,000 $1,200,000
Hill County State Natural Area 25,000 $710,000 $350,000
Lost Maples State Natural Area 63,000 $1,670,000 $1,050,000
Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Site 80,000 $33,100,000 $22,160,000
Palmetto State Park 43,000 $1,180,000 $650,000
Lake Texana State Park 50,000 $1,340,000 $1,060,000
Government Canyon State Natural Area 27,000 n/a n/a
Sebastopol House State Historic Site 3,000 n/a n/a

Note: Economic data were not available for Government Canyon State Natural Area, Honey Creek State Natural Area or Sebastopol House State Historic Site.
Sources: Texas A&M University and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Guadalupe River State Park in Comal and Kendall counties, about 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio, consists of about 1,939 acres open to the public since 1983. The park showcases the Texas Hill Country and includes four miles of frontage along one of Texas’ most scenic and popular rivers. Popular activities include camping, tubing, canoeing, and fishing for the Guadalupe bass, the state fish of Texas. Guided tours are also available to the adjacent, restricted Honey Creek State Natural Area. In fiscal 2008, Guadalupe River State Park had more than 164,000 visitors.30

Hill Country State Natural Area is located in Bandera and Medina Counties, about 20 miles southwest of the city of Bandera. In keeping with its original deed when the Merrick Bar-O Ranch donated the park to the state, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has made only minimal changes to the land. The 5,370-acre park is largely unimproved aside from an impressive 40-mile network of multi-use trails. Its rugged natural settings are perfect for backpackers, horseback riders, campers, mountain bikers and others who want to experience the Hill Country. Dude ranches and outfitters in the area offer horse rentals and rides. In fiscal 2008, Hill Country State Natural Area had about 25,000 visitors.31

Located in Bandera and Real Counties, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a site made famous by its stand of Bigtooth Maples, a uniquely isolated collection that exists well to the east of most other Bigtooth Maple populations in the U.S. The park is especially popular in the autumn, when the trees change color to a vibrant mix of red, orange and yellow. The park also offers visitors a scenic collection of hills, canyons and springs that can be viewed along 11 miles of hiking trails. Birders are attracted to the park by the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler, among other birds. The park offers both developed campsites with RV facilities and primitive back-country sites. In fiscal 2008, Lost Maples State Natural Area had close to 63,000 visitors.33

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site in Gillespie County sits along the Pedernales River, adjacent to the LBJ Ranch and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Known as the “Texas White House” during the Johnson administration, President and Lady Bird Johnson lived here for many years. During his presidency, Johnson hosted political figures from the United States and around the world at his ranch. The Johnsons donated their ranch to the National Park Service in 1972, although Mrs. Johnson lived at the ranch until her death in 2007.

In fiscal 2008, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site had more than 80,000 visitors.

Today, the National Park Service offers a self-guided driving tour of the ranch. LBJ State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including a visitor center and a museum with educational displays and memorabilia related to the Johnson presidency. The park also features the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, a working farm and living history exhibit with re-enactors who demonstrate what life was like on the frontier in the early 20th century. LBJ State Park also allows visitors to stroll along nature trails, view a herd of Longhorn cattle and go for a swim in the public swimming pool. In fiscal 2008, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site had more than 80,000 visitors.34

Palmetto State Park, located near the town of Gonzales in Gonzales County, is a 270-acre park on the San Marcos River that originally opened in 1936. The park’s unusual marsh and forest ecology is unique in this region of the state. It is home to one of the westernmost stands of dwarf palmetto in the U.S. and is a hotspot for birds and other wildlife.

Exhibit 33

Alamo Region, Recreational Lakes and Reservoirs

Name Location Size Average/ Maximum Depth
Victor Brauning Lake 17 miles south of San Antonio 1,350 acres 50 feet
Calaveras Lake 20 miles south of San Antonio 3,624 acres 45 feet
Lake Texana 8 miles east of Edna 9,727 acres 58 feet
Lake McQueeney 7 miles east of New Braunfels 396 acres 40 feet
Lake Placid 1/2 mile southwest of Seguin 198 acres 40 feet
Lake Gonzales 12 miles east of Gonzales 696 acres n/a
Canyon Lake 16 miles northwest of New Braunfels 8,308 acres 125 feet
Medina Lake 40 miles northwest of Bandera 5,426 acres 152 feet

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The park also features attractive stone buildings constructed by the CCC in the 1930s. Visitors can rent pedal boats and canoes and set out on the placid San Marcos River. The park also offers camping and picnicking facilities. In fiscal 2008, Palmetto State Park and Historic Site had more than 43,000 visitors.35

Lake Texana State Park, 6.5 miles east of the town of Edna in Jackson County, sits on the 11,000-acre Lake Texana reservoir. The reservoir, which is fed by the Navidad River, attracts visitors who enjoy boating, water skiing, sailing, canoeing and fishing for bass, crappie, catfish and other species. The park also has picnic areas, campsites, a nature trail and an interpretive center. In fiscal 2008, Lake Texana State Park had about 50,000 visitors.36

In addition to these parks and natural areas, the Alamo region is also home to the Government Canyon State Natural Area in Bexar County, the Sebastopol House State Historic Site in Seguin and the Kerrville-Schreiner Park in Kerrville, which is operated by the city of Kerrville.

In 2008, hunting and fishing enthusiasts in the Alamo region purchased almost 271,000 licenses from TPWD, at a cost of more than $10 million.

Recreational Lakes and Reservoirs

The Alamo region has several lakes offering recreational activities such as boating and fishing. Exhibit 33 describes the region’s lakes and reservoirs.

Hunting and Fishing

In 2008, hunting and fishing enthusiasts in the Alamo region purchased almost 271,000 licenses from TPWD, at a cost of more than $10 million.37 All revenue collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses goes to a dedicated state fund supporting the regulation and conservation of the state’s fish and wildlife.

Every county in the region offers legal hunting of some sort, and several offer hunting year-round (Exhibit 34).

The Alamo region also features abundant freshwater fishing opportunities in its rivers and lakes. Prevalent species in the region include bass, crappie, catfish, sunfish and redfish.

Exhibit 34

Alamo Region, Applicable Hunting Regulations

Animal Season
White-tailed Deer In Atascosa, Calhoun, Frio and Medina counties, open season lasts from November 7 until January 17. In the Alamo Region’s other counties, open season lasts from November 7 until January 3. Several counties in the region also have a special late season in January.

Archery season lasts from October 3 until November 6.

A special youth-only season occurs from October 31 until November 1.
Javelina North Zone: October 1 – February 28.

South Zone: September 1 – August 31.
Squirrel Squirrel season is open year-round with no limit.
Turkey Fall Season – North Zone: November 7, 2009 – January 3, 2010; South Zone: November 7, 2009 – January 17, 2010

Spring Season - North Zone: April 3 – May 16, 2010 South Zone: March 20 – May 2, 2010

Archery season lasts from October 3 – November 6.

Special youth-only season occurs twice a year on October 31 – November 1, 2009 and January 16-17, 2010
Quail Open season lasts from October 31 until February 28. Daily bag limit: 15; possession limit: 45.
Dove Some of the region is in the special White-winged Dove Area where the regular seasons last from September 18 until November 3 and December 26, 2009 until January 13. For the remainder of the region, the season for dove is as follows: Central Zone: September 1 – October 25 and December 26 – January 9. South Zone: September 18 – November 3 and December 26 – January 17.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Endnotes

All links were valid at the time of publication. Changes to web sites not maintained by the office of the Texas Comptroller may not be reflected in the links below.

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