Lake Life


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 Wednesday.
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, June 3.
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,” he said.
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 family gatherings.
“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 out.”
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 free.
For more information about Purtis Creek State Park, call (903) 425-2332.





View Other Pages