AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas State Parks have begun expanding capacity statewide. Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest reopening order parks across the state are giving more Texans a chance to visit.
While restrictions affecting group sizes have been lifted, park visitors are still ‘strongly encouraged’ to wear masks, especially when indoors or in areas where it is difficult to socially distance.READ MORE: 'I'm Afraid We're Going To See A Surge Of Violence' Says Texas Criminologist Following Recent Mass Shootings
“We want Texans to know that the safety of our visitors and our park staff is our top priority as we increase visitor capacity,” said Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks. “Prior to COVID-19, and throughout the last year, our parks have seen growing visitation and our teams are working hard to accommodate those who want to get outside and experience the incredible natural and cultural resources our parks have to offer.”
But officials want you to know things have not returned to pre-COVID guidelines. Most parks in the state will be expanding capacity immediately, but others may continue to have some capacity limits. And remember, capacity limits were already typical before the pandemic for some heavily-trafficked parks, to protect natural resources and keep visitor experiences safe.READ MORE: Texas Grand Jury To Consider Charges In Shooting Death Of Protester Garrett Foster Last Summer
Despite the increased availability, many state parks are still expected to reach capacity for both campers and day-use visitors on holidays and weekends. Par officials suggest visiting during the week, since parks typically see their largest crowds on Fridays and Saturdays.
Getting outdoors is essential for people’s physical and mental health, and Texas State Parks play a critical role in meeting this need,” said Carter Smith, with Texas Parks and Wildlife.MORE NEWS: As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Child Abuse Reports Rise In North Texas
Visitors can purchase day passes up to one month in advance. To purchase a day pass or to reserve a campsite, visit the State Parks Reservations page on the Texas State Parks website or call 512-389-8900.