AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to a release from his office, Texas Governor Greg Abbott marked on Wednesday 100 years of Texas state parks, and gave a keynote address noting their economic impact on local communities and the conservation efforts made by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Abbott gave his address at the Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration at the Bullock Texas History Museum’s The Art of Texas State Parks exhibit in Austin, and was joined by TPWD Chairman Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, Executive Director Dr. David Yoskowitz, and Director of State Parks Rodney Franklin.

“Nearly 10 million people visit Texas’ 30 state parks each year, spurring the economy of many small Texas communities and supporting thousands of jobs across our state,” said Abbott, “Our state parks are drivers of our booming tourism industry, inviting both Texans and out-of-state visitors to witness the majesty of Texas up close. My first experience with Texas state parks was as a Boy Scout, taking trips to Daingerfield State Park and Caddo Lake. Since then, state parks became central to my deep appreciation for Texas’ beautiful landscapes. We must work together to ensure that what makes our state so unique and beautiful is here for generations to come.”

The Texas Panhandle is home to two Texas state parks, Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway. As noted by the TPWD, Palo Duro is the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” and stands as the second largest canyon in the country, as well as acting as home to the TEXAS Outdoor Musical. Meanwhile, Caprock Canyons hosts 90 miles of trails as well as native bison, and roosting bats in its Clarity Tunnel.

The governor’s office noted that the Centennial Celebration of Texas State Parks launched Jan. 1 and will continue throughout 2023. Each state park is expected to host at least one special event throughout the year to mark the occasion, including The Art of Texas State Parks at the Bullock Texas History Museum in Austin, which will run through the end of April and is planned to travel to different museums around the state.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, according to its own published information, will mark the centennial celebration with a three-day long event in September. The Prairie Palooza, set for Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. to Sept. 17 at 2 p.m., will include vendors and booths and showcase 100 years of partnerships for the future.

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