Posted on Oct 17, 2019

Mineral Wells Rotarians on Wednesday heard the importance of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, and the impact the three area state parks have on the area.


Jeff Hinkson, of the Strawn Area Chamber of Commerce who has dedicated his time and resources toward development of the park located just west of Strawn surrounding Tucker Lake, spoke to the club as the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election approaches.


One of 10 proposed constitutional amendments is Proposition 5, which if passed will dedicate revenue from the state's current outdoor sales tax to state park development, improvements and maintenance. Early voting begins Monday.


Hinkson said Palo Pinto County is the only one in the state of Texas that benefits economically from three state parks. Texas has 95 state parks, visited by over 10 million people in 2017.


Texas legislators a quarter of a century ago approved the outdoor sales tax, replacing the state's old cigarette tax, to fund state parks needs. Hinkson said however revenue from the tax went into the state's general fund, and as a result just 40 percent of that sales tax revenue, totaling $2.5 billion, has actually been appropriated to parks funding.


Proposition 5 would make it so that those dollars can only be used by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission on public parks and historic sites, and not for any other purposes. It does not require any additional fees or taxes.


The ballot proposition reads: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”


The Legislature this year authorized $12.5 million for the park, situated around Tucker Lake in southwest Palo Pinto County. However, the park still needs private donations to open its gates to guests, Josh Havens, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department spokesman, said earlier this year. The Texas Department of Transportation has $5.3 million set aside for January 2020 to build roads and a camping loop in the park, said Adam Hammons, a state transportation department spokesman.


The park will needs tens of millions of dollars more in the coming years to completely develop plans that call for a large pavilion, a boat pier, campsites and cabins, picnic areas, a playground, a star gazing area and hiking and horseback trails.


The Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, which was founded in 1991 and raises private funds to help support the state park system, will seek donations for Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.


The 90-acre Tucker Lake is open for fishing until park construction begins and does not require a fishing license.


For more information about the election and voting, go to


For more information about Proposition 5, go to


Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets every Wednesday at noon at Palo Pinto General Hospital to socialize, discuss club news and events and hear a program of interest. Meetings are for club members, invited guests and prospective members. For more information about becoming a member visit or contact a member.