Purtis Creek State Park offers
family fun, Kiwanis hear
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Despite recent budget cutbacks, Purtis Creek State Park is
again open seven days a week, and ready to host families looking for
good fun, fishing and camping, Cedar Creek Kiwanis members heard
Park Superintendent Justin Rhodes said the park’s 14th annual “Kids
All-American Fishing Derby” would be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday,
Also known as “Kid Fish and Play Day,” last year’s event drew more than
500 people, and more than 200 children signed up for the fishing derby
in the park’s 355-acre lake, Rhodes said.
In addition to fishing from the bank or the park’s two T-shaped fishing
piers, the day will offer children numerous games and contests, face
painting, archery and paddle boat races.
A big hit at past events has been a climbing wall, Rhodes said.
He recalled being talked into a climbing race against a fifth-grader
last year, who “smoked” him.
Because the 1,500-acre park completely surrounds the lake, no state
fishing license is required, Rhodes said.
The lake is catch-and-release only for bass – and produced ShareLunker
No. 407, a 13.31-pound bass, in early March – but other species of fish
can be caught and taken home for supper.
Some fishermen take advantage of the camping available to cook their
catch. The park offers recreational vehicle campsites with water and
electricity, or for those who want to get away from everything, some
hike-in primitive tent sites are available.
Following a question about funding, Rhodes said revenue generated by
Purtis Creek State Park goes to the state, and the Texas Parks &
Wildlife Department provides funds for park operations.
“Purtis Creek is the kind of park that’s pretty close to breaking even,”
The average Texas taxpayer pays about 75 cents a year to fund state
parks – partly because Texas ranks 49th of the 50 states in funding for
public parks, Rhodes said.
The Friends of Purtis Creek Park help provide funding for some items
through fund-raisers, and Rhodes pointed out the PowerPoint slide show
he was using was paid for through the Friends’ efforts.
The park has recently expanded its fleet of paddleboats, and the guided
canoe tours have become a big hit with visitors, he said.
A day-use picnic area offers a covered pavilion that can be rented for
“We’re working on 16 miles of hiking and biking trails,” he said. “We’re
trying to do it right, so that five years later, it won’t be washed
Three times this year, the park has hosted a youth-only waterfowl hunt,
where expert guides join youth in blinds to get up-close looks at wild
birds visiting the lake.
Adult admission to the park, located three miles north of Eustace on
Farm-to-Market 316, is $2 per day, and children under 13 are admitted
For more information about Purtis Creek State Park, call (903) 425-2332.