Gov. Abbott calls for expansion of Texas State Parks system

New momentum for our campaign to secure $1 billion in funding for state park land acquisition

we love our state parks
Terry Hahn | Used by permission
Texans love their state parks
Great news for the Million Acre Parks Project! Last week, Governor Abbott called for expanding the state parks system, saying “Yes, we want Texas to grow. Yes, we want Texas to prosper. But we can do that while at the very same time conserving the beautiful parks that we have and adding to them to make Texas even more appealing to future generations.”
As I told the Houston Chronicle, I “hope the Legislature heeds the governor’s call and makes a historic investment in expanding the state parks system.”
This is the session to do it. It’s the centennial of the state parks system and our current parks already can’t keep up with demand. With a $33 billion budget surplus, the state has the resources to acquire more land for state parks, protect wildlife habitat, and create more opportunities for our kids to run free in the woods and see the stars at night.

Lobbying for state parks with Million Acre Parks Project steering committee member Doug DeasonPhoto by Luke Metzger | TPIN

Environment Texas analyzed campsite reservation data from Texas Parks and Wildlife and learned that, during Memorial Day weekend of 2021, 95% of state park campsites were claimed and 86% of all state parks were completely booked. That means many more Texans were turned away when they wanted to spend time in the Great Outdoors. This is an all too frequent occurrence that will only get worse as the population continues to grow.
On Monday, I’ll share our research with the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to set aside $1 billion for state parks – a position (and amount) supported by 68% of Texans.
With the Governor’s support, we have a head of steam. Let’s make sure Texans can enjoy these beautiful places for the next century and beyond.

My family and I hiking along the Frio River at Garner State ParkPhoto by Luke Metzger | TPIN


Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation, renewable energy and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.

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staff | TPIN

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