Photos: Amid Ongoing Renovations, Balmorhea State Park Reopens To Public

With the park’s long-awaited reopening, staff are capping the number of daily visitors at a lower number than normal — down from 900 to 650 — due to ongoing construction in the park.

Young swimmers crowd around the recently renovated high dive at Balmorhea State Park on opening day. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

By Public Radio Staff

When Balmorhea State Park reopened last week, hundreds of visitors from across the state turned out to dip into the park’s refreshing spring-fed waters for the first time in nearly two years.

The pool, along with the rest of the park grounds, have largely been closed off to the public since May 2018 when contractors began major renovations and maintenance work.

Superintendent Carolyn Rose checks reservations as visitors enter the park on opening day. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

While reopening to the public for daytime use only, construction and renovations will continue in the park. Contractors are in the middle of completing several projects, including work on the historic San Solomon Courts and the park’s campground.

With the ongoing construction and limited space, park officials are lowering the daily visitation capacity at Balmorhea State Park from 900 to 650, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

On opening day, the park estimates hundreds of visitors (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Back in 2017, park staff began capping the number of daily visitors allowed to enter the pool. As officials continued to see a growing number of visitors to the park, there were concerns about what impact high traffic to the park could have on local resources, like the endangered Pecos gambusia and the Comanche Springs pupfish.

While swimming alone doesn’t negatively affect the park’s natural resources, it’s the other visitor activity — like hand-feeding the endangered fish that call the San Solomon Springs home — that’s the problem.

(Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

It’s unclear right now how long it take for park contractors to finish the ongoing construction projects and renovation work at Balmorhea State Park.

Despite the continuing construction, reservations for the first weekend the park reopened were completely booked — although not every reservation ended up being used, according to TPWD.

On Saturday, when temperatures reached well into the upper 90s, park officials say 542 visitors plunged into Balmorhea’s waters. While on Sunday, a much cooler and rainy day, about 400 visitors came through the park.

(Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)
(Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

About Public Radio Staff

Marfa Public Radio
This entry was posted in KRTS News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.