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Park Pick: Lake Meridian Getaway

Meridian State Park offers a quiet escape near Dallas-Fort Worth.

By Louie Bond

Park hosts Paul and Willene Woods have volunteered at 10 Texas state parks during the five years since his retirement. They sold their house in Granbury and now call some of the prettiest spots in the state “home.”

“It’s just a ball!” Paul says. “You can’t ask for a better backyard to play in than these places.”

The couple started visiting Meridian State Park nearly two decades ago, before retirement turned them into state park vagabonds. Meridian features oak and juniper woodlands, limestone outcroppings and a lake in an area known as the Lampasas Cut-Plain.

hosts

They loved the quiet and solitude back then, but now the 505-acre park has become more popular.

“A few years ago, when we had all those floods, all the people in the Metroplex found out about Meridian,” Woods says. “They found out how quiet and nice it is, so now it’s staying full.”

Spring break found many campers and anglers at Meridian, and weekend crowds are picking up. Woods says there are new programs and physical improvements that attract new visitors, too, like the screened shelters that were converted into full cabins recently.

Many come to fish for largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bream in the 72-acre lake (loaner equipment available), but there’s also swimming and no-wake boating. The Bosque Hiking Trail circles the lake. If you want to see a golden-cheeked warbler, Meridian offers a chance to glimpse that beauty (March through July) as well as other birds.

CCC

“There’s so much of the CCC involved in this park,” Woods offers as his “insider” information, referring to the Civilian Conservation Corps, which helped develop the park 83 years ago. “There’s a firepit on the other side. There’s an old road, the old Highway 22, and there are wheel ruts cut in the rock. There are a lot of little things like that the average person doesn’t know or see.”

The World War I veterans of CCC Company 1827 built the park between July 1933 and October 1934, including the rock and earthen dam on Bee Creek that forms the lake, a beautiful stone bridge, the cut-stone refectory and the open-air pavilion, all using limestone and timber from the park.

For more information, call park headquarters at (254) 435-2536 or visit tpwd.texas.gov/meridian.

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