Stephen Siwinski

Communications Officer

Setting Up Camp: The Early History of Texas State Parks

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 • Austin, Texas • News Release

There’s a heated debate that has raged on in Texas spawning friendly feuds and spirited spats among outdoor enthusiasts, weekend warriors and nature nuts for generations. Every Texan who has ever pitched a tent, paddled a canoe, roasted a marshmallow or sat around a cracking campfire swapping stories until the wee hours of the night has a favorite Texas State Park. With 54 state parks peppered throughout Texas ranging from the towering sandstone formations of Palo Duro in the panhandle to the otherworldly underground landscape found at Longhorn Caverns nestled in the hill country, it is easy to say that there is no shortage of excuses to lace up your hiking boots, grab some granola and get inspired by Texas’ great outdoors.

Before you load up the airstream or start stocking up on hot dog buns, visit the latest exhibit from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to learn more about the history of these carefully curated natural playgrounds. Setting Up Camp illustrates the early history of Texas’ state parks, first established by Governor Pat Neff in 1923. Gain a better understanding of the vision of our greatest shared natural resources though hand-drawn park blueprints, vintage tourism guides, period promotional photographs and more compiled from the collection at the Texas State Archives.

Setting Up Camp: The Early History of Texas State Parks runs from Monday, October 3rd, 2016- Friday, March 17th, 2017 at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building ( 1201 Brazos, Austin, TX).  For more information visit