Longhorns from Official State Herd Now Residing at LBJ State Park
June 3, 2014
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STONEWALL – Consider the nation’s last president “of the land,” Lyndon B. Johnson revered his Texas Hill Country roots, its people, plants and animals. Visitors to Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site this summer can share the late president’s love of one of Texas’ most enduring icons by viewing eight steer from the Official Texas Longhorn Herd.
Park Superintendent Iris Neffendorf says the new additions to the approximately 700-acre park, which is located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, came from the 100-plus head kept at San Angelo State Park.
“LBJ didn’t raise longhorns, although he kept a sizable herd of Herefords at the LBJ Ranch that sits just across the Pedernales River from the state park,” Neffendorf says. “LBJ helped the park when it opened in many ways and encouraged the inclusion of longhorns, bison and other indigenous wildlife in game pens for visitors to see.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has auctioned off LBJ State Park’s few resident longhorns of mixed lineage and replaced them with eight young steers hailing from descendants of the pure longhorn line preserved in the 1940s by Texas oilman Sid Richardson and Texas writer and historian Frank Dobie. Today’s Official Texas Longhorn Herd totals 205 head pastured at Fort Griffin State Historic Site and Copper Breaks, LBJ, Palo Duro and San Angelo state parks.
Plans are in the works at LBJ State Park to develop interpretive programs focused on the Official Texas Longhorn Herd and update longhorn signage/kiosks by the small game pen inside the park. Upcoming park events include Free Fishing Day on June 7 and celebration of LBJ’s 106th Birthday on Aug. 27.
The park’s Visitors Center Park visitors include several exhibits pertaining to Texas’ ranching heritage, including one that explains how LBJ’s grandfather drove 7,000 longhorns up the Chisholm Trail to Abilene, Kan. prior to the turn of the 20th century. The late president’s Stetson hat, saddle and boots, as well as information about LBJ’s love of the land and ranching, are on display.
The state park includes a nature trail, the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm that interprets early Texas-German farm life, the Visitors Center, swimming pool, a gift shop and 1840s Danz log cabin and dog-trot style Behrens cabins. The park also serves as a starting point for self-guided tours of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park just across the Pedernales River that includes the LBJ Ranch, Texas White House, the school house LBJ attended as a child, and the cemetery where LBJ, Lady Bird and other Johnson Family descendants are buried.
For more information about the longhorns and LBJ State Park & Historic Site, call (830) 644-2252 or visit: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson.