It's no secret Texans love the great outdoors and spend quite a bit of time there. We especially love our state parks. This past Wednesday, at the National Recreation & Park Association's annual conference, Texas picked up the National Gold Medal Award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

It has been reported that Texans (over 9 million of us) have visited our state parks. Those figures continue to climb, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Not only was this award about the number of visitors, but also the way we maintain our parks. I'd like to believe that the "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign might have something to do with that.

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Director of Texas State Parks Rodney Franklin said,

It is touching and fitting to receive this prestigious award during our centennial year, truly substantiating the progress we have made over the past century to fulfill the vision laid out by Governor Pat Neff of providing places where the people of Texas could enjoy the beauty of this great state.

State parks are judged by some pretty stringent standards. When Texas made the finalist list, we were in good company with other states that take their parks systems seriously. The finalists were Missouri State Parks, Ohio State Parks & Watercraft; and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails.

But it was Texas that received the gold, recognized as the Best State Park System in the country. Way to go Texas! Thank you Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, for giving us such beautiful places to spend our time.
Source: TPWD, visit or call 512-389-4800 for more information.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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