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Voters to Decide if Texas Should Have a Dedicated Fund to Expand State Parks

When Larry Caraway was a kid, he tells NBC 5, he traveled throughout the state parks with his father in an RV. All these years later, he still gets his steps in at Cedar Hill State Park while listening to music or sports talk radio.

“This is the main one I use because I live right here. But I mean, there’s tons all over the state. Especially down in the hill country, some of my favorite ones,” said Caraway.

Caraway supports giving Texas Parks and Wildlife more money and hopes they expand and improve the current green spaces.

“You can get a state park pass, and you can go anywhere in the state to a state park. And you don’t have to pay to get in. And if you use it, I mean, it’s only like 70 bucks. If you use it ten times, you’ve already paid for it,” said Caraway.

But there’s little available land in Texas. Currently, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has to lease land from private owners to expand the park system.

On this 100th anniversary of the state park system, voters will decide whether the state should create a dedicated fund in the constitution to buy land for the public – and put $1 billion in it from the state’s historic budget surplus.

Advocates argue with 10 million visitors to the parks each year, campsites have to be booked months in advance to be available.

“Our existing state parks are at times bursting at the seems. They can’t keep up with the demand,” said Luke Metzger from Environment Texas at an earlier press conference.

Recently, the proposition gained the support of a well-known country music singer.

Grammy-winning artist Kacey Musgraves voiced an advertisement supporting the idea for Environment Texas and the Texas Coalition of State Parks.

In the legislature, 151 House and Senate members supported the idea, according to state records. 24 lawmakers voted against it because they largely didn’t want to use the state surplus on parks. Voters get the final word by deciding on Proposition 14 this fall.

Source: NBCDFW