OUTDOORS: State parks continue recovery process from rain

Flooding left more than 50 Texas state parks drenched during the Memorial Day weekend.
Since then, communities and park staff statewide have teamed up to clean up, restore and reopen most of the damaged sites.
Thanks to their efforts, only four parks remain closed: Cedar Hill, Lake Somerville, Lake Whitney and Ray Roberts Lake State Park.
All units of Ray Roberts – located in Sanger – and Lake Somerville are closed at this time.
“We are currently assessing damages that require capital repair,” Brent Leisure, the director of the state parks division at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said. “We intend to move on those repairs as quickly as possible and get Texans back into those parks.”
State park recovery projects are estimated to cost $16 million.
To date, the most costly infrastructure damage was sustained at Bastrop with the loss of the park lake dam, said Director of the Infrastructure Division at the TPWD Jessica Davisson.
A section of the park road also washed away when the dam breached. Preliminary reports for reconstruction are more than $6 million.
Recovery would not have occurred as quickly without the help of more than 300 volunteers who dedicated about 6,500 hours toward cleanup efforts. Others loaned equipment to help move debris.
Lake Whitney State Park in Whitney has had volunteers show up daily. Local farmers and ranchers there have offered their tractors to help with park cleanup projects. The number of volunteers has increased on a weekly basis, the TPWD reports.
Mother Neff State Park in Moody continues to put on clean-up events during restoration efforts. Two of three rental facilities impacted have been cleaned and are nearly ready for rental.
Moreover, Debris was picked up so mowing can begin again. Volunteers brought power washers and generators to assist in the clean up.
Volunteer Flood Day events at Ray Roberts have helped the park clean and remove debris at Sanger and Pond Creek satellite units. The Greenbelt Unit also had a volunteer event to clean the multi-purpose trail. More than 90 volunteers dedicated 1,180 hours toward restoration.
At Blanco State Park, another one of the parks hardest hit, the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, a pair of ranches and a hauling company removed tons of debris, which helped get the park ready for its recent partial reopening.
For more information about the status of current parks, log onto the website: texasstateparks.org.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. (Logo provided by the TPWD, used with permission)