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TPWD News Release — June 2, 2009

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Marks 75th Anniversary

Boz Scaggs Concert, Free Park Admission Highlight Special Weekend

CANYON, TX — A park known to many as the "Grand Canyon of Texas" and beloved by generations who have visited its landmark features celebrates 75 years as a popular Panhandle travel destination near Amarillo, with special events and activities scheduled for the weekend of July 4-5.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary, the park is offering free admission to all visitors, waiving the customary $5 per-person adult admission fee (children ages 12 and younger are always free). The park will also host a number of activities such as nature hikes and wildlife viewing tours along some of the park’s numerous nature trails.

Highlighting the weekend’s festivities will be a special edition of the musical drama "Texas" on the evening of July 4-including extra fireworks and music to honor the Fourth of July tradition-and a concert by Boz Scaggs and his band the evening of July 5. Both events are scheduled for the park’s Pioneer Amphitheater. A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the Partners in Palo Duro Canyon Foundation and the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation.

"Palo Duro Canyon has been important to everyone who has lived here, going back some 12,000 years," said park superintendent Randy Ferris. "From prehistoric man to the Comanche and Kiowa peoples, who considered it a sacred place, to ranchers who brought livestock here because of the water. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corp came here to restore access to this place and help build the economy. Everywhere you look, Lighthouse Rock is an icon to this region; people even name local businesses in honor of it. Now, Palo Duro Canyon State Park gives us a place to escape from our busy lives. You can still drive into the canyon, and imagine you are the first person ever to discover it."

Today, Palo Duro Canyon State Park covers 30,000 acres and ranks as the second-largest canyon in the nation. It includes numerous RV and primitive campsites, cabins, horseback riding and other popular features. The park is also a significant economic engine for the entire Panhandle region, each year generating more than $9.7 million impact on sales, $5 million on personal income, more than 100 jobs and $19,500 in sales tax for Randall County alone.

Amarillo’s legendary restaurant, The Big Texan, will also be on hand serving dinner each night of the anniversary weekend, available just prior to the play "Texas" on Saturday evening, and then before the concert again on Sunday evening. Tickets to the play run from $9.95 to $29.95 with the steak dinner available for an additional $16.95 each for adults and $12.70 each for children; tickets to the Boz Scaggs concert cost $50 to $100 each depending upon the seat, but do include the steak dinner for each ticket holder.

For more information, contact Palo Duro Canyon State Park at (806) 488-2227, or visit the Web site at It is recommended that tickets to the show "Texas" or to the Boz Scaggs concert be purchased in advance, as seating is limited. For ticket information for either event, visit or call (806) 655-2181.