AUSTIN, Texas (KTSM) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivered the keynote address at Wednesday’s Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration at the Bullock Texas History Museum in Austin, noting the personal connection many Texans have to their favorite park.

Today, Texas has a total of 30 official state parks that host 10 million visitors each year, according to the Governor’s Office.

But the system itself dates back to 1923 when then-Governor Pat Neff created the Texas State Parks Board to identify potential sites for future state parks.

During his keynote speech, Gov. Abbott praised the positive impact the park system has had on local economies while highlighting the conservation efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

“Our state parks are drivers of our booming tourism industry, inviting both Texans and out-of-state visitors to witness the majesty of Texas up close,” said Gov. Abbott.

The state is celebrating all throughout 2023 with each of the 30 parks hosting at least one special event this year.

Wednesday’s celebration was also a chance for state leaders and park supporters to share some of their favorite memories at state parks.

“My first experience with Texas state parks was as a Boy Scout, taking trips to Daingerfield State Park and Caddo Lake,” recalled Gov. Abbott. “Since then, state parks became central to my deep appreciation for Texas’ beautiful landscapes. We must work together to ensure that what makes our state so unique and beautiful is here for generations to come.” 

This year’s Centennial Celebration also features dozens of works of art depicting various parks that will be on display at the Bullock History Museum in Austin through April 30 before moving to other museums across the state.