Rusk-Palestine State Park, located in Cherokee and Anderson counties, consists of two separate units; each holds a depot of the Texas State Railroad (see TEXAS STATE RAILROAD STATE PARK). The Rusk Unit is located three miles west of Rusk on U.S. Highway 84, and the Palestine Unit is located six miles east of Palestine on U.S. Highway 84. The park in Rusk comprises 100 acres and has a fifteen-acre lake stocked with bass, trout, and catfish. The park in Palestine is considerably smaller and, until 1989, was only for day use. In 1972, with the plans for the railroad park underway, the Rusk-Palestine Park became a joint effort by the cities of Rusk and Palestine, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, and the United States Department of the Interior. In 1982 the cities gave control of the parks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The parks are situated where the prairies meet the Cross Timbers and the East Texas forests. The varied flora includes sweet gum, loblolly pine, dogwood, several types of oak, willows, sassafras, hickory, trumpet creeper, Spanish mulberry, dewberry, and blackberry. Birds in the parks include both residents and migratory visitors. Mammals include white-tailed deer, beavers, coyotes, and cottontail rabbits. Reptiles and amphibians include tree frogs and bullfrogs, snapping turtles, and several kinds of snake. The park in Rusk has thirty-two campsites with running water, electricity, and sewer hook-ups, forty-six group trailer sites with water and electricity, sixteen tent sites with water and electricity, and fifteen picnic sites, some overlooking the lake. The Palestine Unit has two group picnic pavilions, forty-eight picnic sites, a playground, and twelve overnight tent sites.
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George Oxford Miller and Delena Tull, Texas Parks and Campgrounds: North, East, and Coastal Texas (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1984). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Rusk-Palestine State Park,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
June 1, 1995