Texans will vote on $1 billion state parks measure this November

Media Contacts

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas House of Representatives approved measures on Monday to invest $1 billion to create new state parks. SB 1648 (Parker), which passed by a 127-15 vote, and SJR 74 (Parker), which won by a 123-21 margin, would establish the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. The program would be established in the Texas constitution, subject to approval by voters in November. HB 1, the budget for the 2024-2025 biennium, appropriates $1 billion for state park land acquisition, contingent on the passage of the constitutional amendment. 

The bills come amid the centennial of the state parks system and calls by conservation advocates to expand the system to keep up with public demand for recreational opportunities. Texas ranks just 35th in the nation for state park acreage per capita and Texans routinely must wait months to secure campsites. 

Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger issued the following statement:

“Park lovers are reeling in the big one with this bill. The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund could create dozens of new state parks, helping protect Texas’ outdoor way of life. Generations of Texans have grown up spending quality time outdoors. But as the Lone Star State’s population grows rapidly, we’re at risk of losing some of the iconic, rustic character of our state. 

“Thanks to the Legislature, we can turn this trend around. This fund will protect Texas’ valuable natural areas and the wildlife which rely on them — and create abundant opportunities for Texans to camp, hike, hunt and fish.”