State Parks Board

By: Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 1, 1995

In 1923 the legislature established the State Parks Board, authorizing it to accept donations of land to be set aside as parks. The board was made up of six members, who were appointed by the governor and served without pay for six-year, overlapping terms. During its first two years the board accepted donations of more than sixty tracts of land, varying in size from ten to 7,000 acres. However, the legislature failed to appropriate funds that would allow the board to buy land. Not until the early 1930s did the board receive even limited authority from the state to purchase land for parks or to spend money to develop sites. Beginning in 1933 the board received federal aid through several New Deal programs, making possible the development of thirty-one parks by 1941. Most of this work was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the National Youth Administration, and the Work Projects Administration. Administrative control of historical sites and parks was transferred to the Parks Board from the Board of Control in 1949. By 1958 the Parks Board was responsible for the management of fifty-eight parks comprising a total of 61,838 acres. Financial difficulties, caused by declines both in the value of the parkland and in the tourist revenue the parks generated, prompted the board to ask the Texas Research League to study the organization and operation of the park system. In 1961, as a result of this study, Texas Technological College helped to develop the state's first long-range park-development plan. In 1963 the Parks Board was merged with the Texas Game and Fish Commission to form the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation Chronicle (Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife, 1990). 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.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “State Parks Board,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995