Million Acre Parks Project

Camping, hiking, watching wildlife — Texas’ state parks have it all.

TPWD | Used by permission
Horseback riding in Big Bend Ranch State Park

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Our parks provide us the opportunity to reconnect with nature; they’re home to endangered species, from sea turtles to the golden-cheeked warbler; and they protect important sources of drinking water.

But as the state grows rapidly, our parks system is bursting at the seams, struggling to meet public demand for recreation opportunities and protect the flora and fauna that call these parks home.

Meanwhile, development continues to transform the iconic rural character so many of us love about Texas and encroach on beloved parks like McKinney Falls and Pedernales Falls.

The state ranks just 35th in the nation for in state park acres per capita — and it shows,  as our existing parks struggle to keep up with demand. Texans flocked to our parks during the pandemic, but too often were turned away due to park closures and long lines. To get a campsite, you often have to make reservations months in advance.

The upcoming opening of the 4,800 acre Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, the first new state park in twenty years, will help alleviate some of the strain. But according to a Texas Tech study, Texas needs to add more than 1 million acres of state parkland by 2030 in order to ensure that we can preserve our state’s special places for future generations to enjoy, and to protect critical wildlife habitat. That’s going to require a significant investment from the state.

Right now is the perfect time to make a visionary investment in our parks.

  • Voter approval of Proposition 5 in 2019 means TPWD finally has stable revenue to address a backlog of repair needs and maintain existing park facilities.
  • The centennial of the Texas state parks system in 2023 provides a unique opportunity to envision, and prepare for, the next century of our parks.
  • The state is doing very well financially, and the Legislature is currently deciding how to spend a $25 billion surplus.
  • A recent poll found 73% of Texans support investing $1 billion to build new state parks and improve existing parks.

Environment Texas and the Steering Committee of the Million Acre Parks Project, are making the case to the public for making a historic investment in new parkland in Texas. Texas state parks often reach capacity limits and have to turn visitors away.

Million Acre Parks Steering Committee

The Honorable Kip Averitt
Douglas Brinkley
Eric Castillo
Valerie Castillo
George Cofer
Doug Deason
Ann Hamilton
Ethan Hawke
The Honorable Garry Mauro
Jarid Manos
Ben Masters
Andy Sansom
Laura Spanjian


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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