Report indicates Texas state parks still suffering following worst drought on record

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Carter Smith, The Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told a state legislative committee on Tuesday that together wildfires and drought have caused an estimated $11 million dollars in damage to state parks during 2011. Severe damage was reported to Davis Mountains, Possum Kingdom, and Bastrop state parks.

Mr. Smith stated that in August 2011 alone there was a 25% drop in visitors and noted the loss of nearly 4,000 homes across the state last year due to wildfires. An employee of Tyler State Park told Wikinews on Friday that the park's lake is currently "...about three feet low", but went on to state that staff had recently stocked the lake with freshwater trout. When asked about the park's overall status, the employee stated, "We're doing OK."

In the U.S. Texas ranks lowest in state park funding per capita. Reportedly, the drought has impacted wildlife, with increases of sightings of bears, mountain lions and feral hogs in unusual locales.

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