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Celebrate 100 Years Of Texas State Parks On October 7!

Buffalo Soldiers
Cooper Lake Sunrise

Sulphur Springs, TX— 100 Years of Texas State Parks is something to celebrate! Texans slowly began recognizing the value of resource conservation in the 1920s, and at the same time, suddenly, people had cars, paved roads to drive on, and destinations to explore. 

In 1923, the governor of Texas, Pat Neff, appointed a Texas State Parks Board to begin locating sites for establishing Texas’ very own state parks. Governor Neff said, “Texas is rich and diversified in climate, in scenery of natural beauty, and in the variety of its native plant and animal life, ideal for the location of public parks and recreational centers.” Well, the rest is 100 years of Texas State Parks history, to be exact! Our Texas State Parks conserve the landscapes that make Texas TEXAS! See and explore our natural wonders, numbering 88 state parks and growing!

Cooper Lake State Park is hosting a free event in honor of this momentous occasion. On October 7, a daylong event titled “Legends, Lore, and Legacy” will fill the day and night with family fun, recreation, and education. The morning programs will include programs on the “Native American Fall Harvest.” Where did the millions of people in North America find their food? “Fishing with a Ranger” program is a park favorite. We will provide visitors with fishing gear, bait, and instruction. Yes, you can keep your catch! 

“The Buffalo Soldiers” will present a program educating everyone on Texas circa the late 1800s and early 1900s from the perspective of black soldiers – Buffalo Soldiers. These brave men served our country and helped mold the Texas of today. “Prehistoric Pottery Making” will be one of the centerpieces of the day’s programming. Learn how native Americans made vessels for cooking, carrying, and storing essential items. “Blue Birds” will be an educational program on this most amazing, beautiful creature. 

“Horse Shoeing Demo” will be enlightening for many visitors. Before Goodyear and Michelin tires, we had horseshoes to aid in transportation. Witness the art and science of shoeing a horse. “Backyard Bass” will help kids and adults hone their casting skills. “Gyotaku” is a traditional form of Japanese art that you can learn. Release your inner artist and learn about this unusual art form. In addition, the morning programs will include Boater Education and Angler Education displays. The park will also host a booth on the local area’s history. A scavenger hunt that will last all day, titled “What’s in a Name,” will direct happy visitors across the park to explore and discover knowledge.

The park will host an evening list of programs starting at 7:30 pm. These will include a program on historic and native American stories just perfect for the night. At intermission, we will roast s’mores! Follow us on a guided “Creatures of the Night, Night Hike” through the dark October woods. “Stargazing and Moongazing” will happen under the heavens, led by Ranger Alicia as your celestial adventure guide. And don’t forget, in honor of 100 Years of Texas State Parks, entrance fees are waived!

Cooper Lake State Park is just one of 88 Texas State Parks open and ready to host your next outdoor adventure. Let’s get out there and experience a natural Texas! Happy 100th Anniversary to Texas State Parks!

For more information on this or other events and programs, please visit and like our Facebook pages Cooper Lake State Park – South Sulphur (903-945-5256) and Cooper Lake State Park – Doctor’s Creek (903 395-3100) and visit our Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.