Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



The Stuff of Dreams

It’s a long, long, long, long road to become a Texas state park. After donation or purchase, the land must be surveyed for public use and conservation planning. Funding for design, facilities construction and staffing may not exist yet. These five properties, totaling more than 65,000 acres of pristine land, will someday be open to the public, but not anytime soon. For now, they’re just the stuff of dreams.

State parks preserve resources while providing public recreation and facilities.

State natural areas protect resources with less focus on recreation.

Wildlife management areas are used for wildlife research and management with limited recreation.

 Earl Nottingham / TPWD

Chinati Mountains State Natural Area

The 38,137-acre Chinati Mountains State Natural Area stretches from low desert to the peak of Sierra Pardo. Pictographs and petroglyphs show that human habitation dates back 8,000 years in this Chihuahuan Desert area just northwest of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Abundant wildlife includes 40 mammal species, including bobcats and mountain lions, plus unique creatures like the rare gray-checkered whiptail lizard.

 Jonathan Vail

Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area and State Park

The 17,351-acre Powderhorn Ranch in Calhoun County, one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled coastal prairie in Texas, was purchased in 2014. More than 15,000 acres became a Texas wildlife management area in 2018. The remaining land will become a state park, preserving 13 miles of tidal shoreline along Matagorda Bay and Powderhorn Lake with habitat for hundreds of animal species, including the endangered whooping crane, and vast freshwater wetlands and salt marshes.

 Earl Nottingham / TPWD

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park

Dallas/Fort Worth nature lovers can dream of this 4,400-acre future park, 75 miles west of Fort Worth in the Palo Pinto Mountains. Plateaus with beautiful vistas overlook sheltered canyons. Palo Pinto Creek meanders near the northern border; a dam on Russell Creek impounds 90-acre Tucker Lake. Plans include extensive trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

 Chase Fountain / TPWD

Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Areak

Albert and Bessie Kronkosky willed their beloved 3,814-acre Bandera County ranch to the state in 2011 to protect it from development. Golden-cheeked warbler, alligator lizard, sycamore-leaf snowbell, big-toothed maple, Boerne bean and Texas spring salamander are among the rare or endangered species found on this land of springs and weeps a short drive west of San Antonio. Future visitors will be able to camp, backpack, hike, mountain bike and fish.

 Earl Nottingham / TPWD

Davis Hill State Natural area

This 1,700-acre tract of diverse wilderness, about 45 minutes east of downtown Houston, was acquired in 1983. It stretches from the highest hill on the Texas coastal plain down to a pristine white-sand beach on the Trinity River. The Liberty County site is named for Gen. James Davis, a Texas Revolutionary War hero who had a plantation home atop the hill.



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