The situation is becoming dire here in Texas. State park closures are happening this week because of coronavirus concerns. Several state parks in Hill Country have closed their gates so far. I just hope they do not throw away the key. If this trend continues we will have lost access to toilet paper and hiking trails. The latter is a true nightmare for Abbey (my dog) and I.
Our reservation at Lost Maples State Natural Area has been cancelled. We have patiently been waiting for a good time to return because our last visit was all fogged up. Which reminds me – We see so many people being turned away at the most popular parks in Texas Hill Country because reservations were not made. This is easily avoidable, and I just don’t understand it. I’ve been planning on writing an article on the topic, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Make a reservation online, people! It takes only a few seconds of your life, and guarantees entry during times of “normal” operation. The popular state parks will turn you away on holidays and weekends if you do not make a reservation.
As of right now, most Texas State Parks are open. However, some have closed in Hill Country, as well as several others throughout Texas. You can view the closures using the Texas State Park Alert Map. The way things are going, we may see more closures this month.
Why Close the Parks?
I understand closing the HQ, and other buildings, but why the entire park? It’s incredibly easy to practice “The Five” while hiking.
- Wash your hands – we have portable hand sanitizer.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow – we haven’t been coughing or sneezing, but we will do it into our elbows.
- Do not touch your face – fair enough, no touchy.
- Social distancing – we rarely come into contact with others on the hills, or in the woods, but if we do, we will stay several feet away.
- Stay home if you are sick – we are not sick, but we shall stay inside if we feel unwell.
Perhaps they believe too many people will crowd the hiking trails at the most popular parks. Maybe the patrols have been told to stay home, and the park cannot be monitored. I don’t have that information yet.
This statement was provided on the Lost Maples Facebook Page:
The current situation is related to COVID-19 and has resulted in the inability for park staff to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff in a responsible manner. Although there have been no confirmed or presumed cases of the virus in the park, the site no longer has the capacity to ensure the necessary safeguards.
State Park Closures in Texas
These are the state parks which have closed in Texas, as of today (March 20, 2020). The order is east to west.
- Bonham State Park (sewer failure)
- Buescher State Park
- Resaca de la Palma State Park
- McKinney Falls State Park
- Pedernales Falls State Park
- Government Canyon State Natural Area
- Lake Casa Blanca International State Park
- Lost Maples State Natural Area
- Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
- Balmorhea State Park (construction)
- Indian Lodge
- Barton Warnock Visitor Center (trails at Big Bend remain open)
- Fort Leaton State Historic Site (trails at Big Bend remain open)
- Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
- Wyler Aerial Tramway
So far, this is not a lot of parks in comparison to the total number in Texas. However, many popular state parks in Hill Country have closed. Unfortunately, these are the parks we hike most often. We recently hiked the entire San Antonio Riverwalk, which was an amazing experience. All San Antonio parks are currently open. Will they begin to shutdown too, or will they remain open?
Ways to Stay Active
I do not typically write articles impulsively, but I felt like sharing this info. with ya’ll. I do A LOT of hiking with my dog. It is our favorite way to stay active. I also workout at home with my own equipment, but it’s not nearly as fun. We may need to come up with ways to stay active in the weeks to come. Here are a few of my ideas thus far:
- Family sports competitions because there are none on television
- Dog tricks or agility training (dogs need exercise too)
- Stair climbing
- Shuttle runs
- Scavenger hunts
- Chores which never seem to get done
- Dancing to music
- Yardwork (get those leaves ya’ll)
- Walking through different neighborhoods
- Bodyweight exercises
Be safe out there, (or in there) wherever you are. I’ll be trying to get out, but it’s becoming more difficult with the state park closures. I’m a personal trainer in San Antonio, so I have my own equipment and plan of action. However, I realize most people do not have those luxuries. How do you plan on staying active? Do you plan on visiting any city, or state parks?
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.