Day Trips

A day-trippers look back at 2010

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Looking back at 2010, it was a year much like any other. It was the year the drought was broken by spring rains and then snuck back with autumn like a dry blanket rising up from the earth in a fine dust.

The condition of the state park system affects many day trippers looking for outdoor recreation. Last August the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department announced that Brent Leisure would lead the parks division. A 26-year veteran of the state agency, Leisure spent 11 years as superintendent of Bastrop and Buescher state parks.

One of 10 divisions in the department, the parks division managed to reopen the popular Galveston Island State Park on a limited basis after the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Sea Rim State Park on the upper coast near Port Arthur was hit by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and again by Hurricane Ike. The park reopened this year with limited facilities, making it a great destination for anyone looking for a primitive escape along the Gulf Coast.

Day trippers got a big Christmas present in December when TPWD announced the purchase of land along the Devils River north of Del Rio. The public-owned acreage in West Texas grew by 18,000 acres – including 10 miles of river frontage – by using public and private money. The Devils River is the most pristine river system in Texas.

In November the International Mountain Biking Association recognized the Fresno-Sauceda Loop trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park as one of the Top 50 bike rides in the U.S. and Canada. With its more than 200 miles of trails, Texas bike riders have been enjoying this park for years.

For more than 20 years, the Stonehenge and Easter Island replicas in a field outside of Hunt near Kerrville have entertained Sunday drivers lucky enough to have found them. The property was sold this year, and the stones moved a few miles east to Point Theatre Road in Ingram.

This year we lost John Robert Prude on Feb. 14. A tireless promoter of West Texas, Prude turned his family's cattle ranch outside of Fort Davis into a summer camp enjoyed by thousands.

Many athletes around the state have said, "When I grow up I want to be Charlie Ogilvie." Former owner of Arc Ridge Guest Ranch in East Texas and a regular attendee of the Prude Ranch Fitness Camp, Ogilvie was a legend for being physically fit and active until July 3 when he died at age 92.

J. Don Clark, who passed on Dec. 20, was a legend in the Texas travel industry. Before his retirement from TxDOT, Clark ushered in the "Don't Mess With Texas," "Adopt-a-Highway," and "Keep Texas Beautiful" campaigns. More than just catchy slogans, these programs reduced litter and made Texas highways some of the most beautiful in the country.

1,017th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips" 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Brent Leisure, Galveston Island State Park, Sea Rim State Park, Devils River, International Mountain Biking Association, John Robert Prude, Charlie Ogilvie, J. Don Clark

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