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Celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks

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From Enterprise Staff

“Fishing 101!” will be offered at the Lake Livingston State Park Saturday. This year marks 100 years of Texas State Parks and this is just one of many 100-year celebration events happening in Texas state parks this year.

This event allows you to join park rangers for a day full of programs designed to teach you all of the skills you need to start fishing.

The day will start with “Fishing Knots to Know!” at 9 a.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier where you may learn one of the best and easiest fishing knots during this brief hands-on lesson.

Knots are essential for camping, survival, fishing and many other outdoor activities. Join Ranger Joel Janssen to learn one of the most basic and easiest fishing knots. This will be a hands-on activity appropriate for most older children, although some may need help from their parent or guardian.  Adults are welcome to join in.

The day continues with “Backyard Bass Fishing Game” at 11 a.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier where you may learn to cast with Backyard Bass, a lawn fishing game. Rangers will demonstrate the use of a spincast reel, then participants will try to hook fish of varying difficulty. No hooks are involved, so it’s safe for all ages.

The day will conclude with “Fishing with a Ranger” at 2 p.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier. Rangers will be on hand at Sunset Marina Park Store inside Lake Livingston State Park throughout this time frame to help bait hooks, rig tackle and teach the basics of fishing. Bait and tackle are provided and limited quantities of loaner fishing poles will be available.

Regular park admission fees of $6 per adults ages 13 and up apply although there is no additional charge for activities.

Lake Livingston State Park is located one mile south of Livingston on U.S. Highway 59. Travel four miles west on FM 1988 and 0.5 miles north on FM 3126 to Park Road 65. The park is approximately 75 miles north of Houston. The park address is 300 Park Rd. 65 in Livingston. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the park store is open Wednesday through Sunday and the hours vary by season. The phone number for the park is 936-365-2201 and the email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In addition to celebrating the past, the 100-year anniversary is about looking ahead to the next century. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has kicked off a Centennial Fundraising Campaign to raise funds for priority projects at all state parks across Texas.

The fundraising effort aims to raise $2 million for equipment and visitor enhancements at all 89 state parks. Donations are being matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million, thanks to the foundation’s Centennial Champions, including the Fondren Foundation, John M. O’Quinn and Elkins Foundation. There’s an enhancement project at every state park and you can make a gift to the park closest to your home or heart at TexasParks100.org.

You may learn all about the history of Texas State Parks at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s web site located at tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/. According to the website, in 1923, Governor Pat Neff persuaded the legislature to create the State Parks Board. He later regarded this action as his most important achievement as governor. In a 1925 speech, Neff noted that a parks system would afford a place where people “might go and forget the anxiety and strife and vexation of life’s daily grind.”

Since 1923, Texas State Parks has been dedicated to protecting the best parts of Texas’ vast natural and cultural beauty. Originally envisioned as a series of roadside stops for highway travelers, today the Texas State Park system has grown to a network of parks, historic sites and natural areas that welcome millions of visitors every year.

In 1933, President Roosevelt charged the National Park Service to lend their services as part of his New Deal program. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built park infrastructure putting out-of-work Americans back on the job. Texas State Parks transformed from a handful of undeveloped properties into a robust system of over 50 parks. Texans added camping, fishing and hiking to their family traditions.

Trailblazing Texans worked to ensure that parks were for everyone. While WWII soldiers were away, Texas women kept parks operating. This opened the doors of change, elevating the roles of women in the workforce as leaders. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African American citizens near Tyler and Bastrop State Parks successfully advocated for access to parks regardless of the color of someone’s skin.

By the 1980s, parks were stretched to capacity. Thanks to significant public support for additional parks, the legislature expanded the system dramatically. Texans were becoming aware of the importance public lands played in maintaining a healthy environment. Park land was acquired and managed to protect their habitat, uniqueness, and geological forms in order to preserve the land and the experience.

Although the park system has expanded significantly in the last 100 years, 95% of Texas is still privately owned. This makes public land in Texas a precious resource for people and wildlife. Today over 630,000+ acres are devoted to Texas State Parks.

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