State Parks Recovering After Torrential Memorial Day Floods
AUSTIN August 21, 2015 – After flooding left more than 50 Texas state parks drenched over the Memorial Day weekend, communities and park staff statewide have banded together to clean up, restore, and reopen most of the damaged sites. Thanks to their efforts, only four parks remain closed; Cedar Hill State Park, Lake Somerville State Park (all units), Lake Whitney State Park, and Ray Roberts Lake State Park (all units).
“Our first and greatest priority is to ensure that parks are safe for public use before re-opening,” said Brent Leisure, Director of the State Parks Division at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Beyond that, we are currently assessing damages that require capital repair. We intend to move on those repairs as quickly as possible and get Texans back into those parks, which they obviously enjoy so much.”
Currently, state park recovery projects are estimated to cost about $16 million dollars.
To date, the most costly known infrastructure damage was sustained at Bastrop State Park with the loss of the park lake dam, said Jessica Davisson, Director of the Infrastructure Division at TPWD. A section of Park Road 1A was also washed away when the dam breached and preliminary estimates for reconstruction at Bastrop are in excess of $6 million.
“Not all sites have been assessed for infrastructure damage yet; several parks remain closed due to standing water and inaccessibility,” said Davisson. “Park staff continues to diligently respond to debris and silt removal, facility and site cleanup, and minor repairs.”
Recovery would not have occurred as quickly as it has at many locations without the help of more than 300 volunteers who dedicated about 6,500 hours towards cleanup efforts. Others even loaned equipment to park staff to help with debris.