State parks could close, need help

POSTED: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 9:28am
UPDATED: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 3:36pm

WACO -- For avid camper Layne Holland there's no better escape than being surrounded by nature.

"It's a great way to just get away from just the run of the mill everyday drudge," said Holland.

But wildfires and the historic drought of 2011 have many state parks feeling the heat.

So much so that the executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife had to make a public service announcement.

"We need you now more than ever," said Carter Smith.

A decline in park visitation has left state parks with a 4.6 million dollar deficit.

And if the money can't be raised in time parks could be shut down.

"I would hate to see any of them close. I think it's just -- it's a place that everybody owns. I mean we're all a part of this state and I'd just hate to see it happen," said Holland.

Officials say visitor fees make up half of the usual budget but if you're unable to make it out to the park, there are other ways you can help.

Donations can be made online through the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife web site or you can make a donation when renewing your vehicle, boat or trailer registration.

"If anybody can, donate to the park service because it's really well worth it," said Holland.

To learn more about how you can help, visit


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