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TPWD News Release — April 3, 2017

TPWD Hosts Public Meetings to Announce Changes at Balmorhea State Park

BALMORHEA— Balmorhea State Park will be hosting two public meetings to announce changes in operations at one of west Texas’ most popular state parks.

Beginning this summer, entry into the park will be regulated to a maximum number of visitors to prevent overcrowding that has plagued the park in recent years. Measures will also be put into place to allow more visitors an additional opportunity to gain entry as visitation within the park fluctuates throughout the day.

 “As a growing population of Texans discover their state parks, it’s important that we take steps to preserve a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors,” says Brent Leisure, director of Texas State Parks. “A visit to Balmorhea State Park has been a traditional journey for generations of Texans. The historic nature of the Civilian Conservation Corps development, which surrounds the refreshing waters of the San Solomon springs, is something we want all Texans to experience. Making operational adjustments will help us to achieve that goal.”

Visitation at Balmorhea State Park continues to increase and changes to its operations have been carefully considered to assist in the preservation of the delicate resources at the park – including some threatened and endangered species – as well as the quality of experience that park visitors will have.

Two public meetings have been scheduled to discuss with the regional community how the operational changes at the park will result in safer and more enjoyable experiences for park visitors. The first meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, April 10, in the Dick and Amelia Conference Room of the Electronic Technology Building at Odessa College and at the same time Tuesday, April 11, at the Balmorhea Community Center.

“Increased use of the park has resulted in traffic jams at the park entrance, excessive litter and impacts to park resources,” says Carolyn Rose, superintendent at Balmorhea State Park. “We have had issues with people parking on the side of the highway, which has led to traffic issues for local residents and endangers visitors. Recent numbers of users are far beyond what the park was envisioned to serve, resulting in long lines to use the bathhouses and straining park infrastructure.”

Construction of park improvements at Balmorhea is scheduled to begin in September 2017. These projects will help the park better accommodate visitors. Updates includes the restoration of the San Solomon Springs Courts and enhanced campsites. Details about these upcoming projects will be discussed at the public meetings.

For more information about the park, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.